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Thyroid Patients Facing Unavailability of Levoxyl and Levothroid

drugvialHypothyroid patients getting thyroid prescriptions filled are fast discovering that Levoxyl (a brand of levothyroxine drug – synthetic T4 – made by Pfizer) is off the market currently, and not due back on the market until at least the middle of 2014. Various excuses have been offered by the company – odor of the tablets, and so on — but they’ve pulled all sizes of Levoxyl off and it looks like it will be a full year before it’s back on the market. Meanwhile, Levothroid, another brand of levothyroxine, is also currently not available.

For thyroid patients taking Levoxyl or Levothroid, you’ll need to get an equivalent thyroid medication. Your options include the following:

  • Unithroid – a brand name levothyroxine drug (tablet)
  • Synthroid – a brand name levothyroxine drug (tablet)* (*Note – Synthroid has both acacia and lactose as fillers – so be aware of potential allergic reactions )
  • Tirosint – – a brand name levothyroxine drug (liquid cap – hypoallergenic)
  • Generic levothyroxine from various manufacturers (only recommended if you can ensure that you will get refills from the SAME manufacturer each time, otherwise you risk getting some variation in potency from one generic drug to the other, even at same dosage size)

Other options…

You may be interested in a natural desiccated thyroid drug, which includes both T4 and T3 in natural forms. (Some people do better with the addition of T3.) In that case, your options include:

  • Nature-Throid and Westhroid (from RLC Labs), brand name hypoallergenic natural thyroid drugs
  • Armour Thyroid (from Forest), brand name natural thyroid drug
  • Generic natural thyroid, from manufacturer Acella (considered to be good quality)

A subset of thyroid patients take straight T3. This can be in the form of the brand name Cytomel (synthetic T3), generic synthetic T3 (aka, “liothyronine”), or compounded, time-released (sustained-release) T3.

Compounding pharmacies can also do combinations of any thyroid drugs — levothyroxine, liothyronine, or natural thyroid. (Be sure that you use only a compounding pharmacy that is recommended by your physician for quality work on thyroid drugs.)

Are you having trouble getting your thyroid medications? Share your thoughts here in the comments.

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