(This post garnered a lot of attention, up to FIFTY comments just a few hours after it went up. People are very interested in sharing their experiences in coping with the shortages! See below and add your own.)
This year will go down in history as shockingly miserable for enlightened thyroid patients on natural desiccated thyroid.
First came a reformulation in the most popular brand–Armour by Forest Labs. Patients worldwide in groups and forums reported a serious return of their hypothyroid symptoms on this product. A huge disappointment.
Second came the production shutdown of the two generic makers of desiccated thyroid: Time Caps Labs and Major Pharmaceuticals. It’s the first step in the FDA’s compliance plan to corral all grandfathered-in drugs (drugs already in existence when the the FDA was created in 1938) and make them each prove the efficacy and safety of their medication via very expensive clinical trials. i.e. over 110 years of safe and effective use of desiccated thyroid is not enough for the FDA?? We are still waiting to see the outcome of that plan with RLC and Forest Labs.–the two who were actually in existence before 1938.
Third came demand being greater than supply and shortages. Because of informative patient websites like Stop the Thyroid Madness, Sheila’s TPA-UK, Lyn’s ThyroidUK, Stephanie’s Natural Thyroid Choices, some areas of about.com (and other good websites I don’t mean to miss here), plus many fine patient forums and groups, patients found out why they had continuing symptoms on T4 thyroxine, and demand for natural desiccated thyroid grew exponentially.
STTM then created a list of options for all thyroid patients until the shortages resolved themselves, and also created CDT (Coalition for Desiccated Thyroid) where patients could discuss alternatives in a supportive and factual atmosphere.
And we’ve seen some interesting experiences and comments:
The new Armour: One grain tabs started to appear on some pharmacy shelves the past month. Other pharmacies have still been waiting. Many patients appear to have switched to other alternatives, though. One gal still on it feels she is finding success by adding T3 to the amount of new Armour she is on. Time will tell if patients can ever find success with the newly formulated Armour, and most feel it’s a huge loss.
Naturethroid and Westhroid: Patients reporting on their switch to either of RLC Lab’s two identical products report doing well, having to raise it slightly or lower it slightly, or just not liking them at all. Others have had a hard time finding it on their pharmacy shelves, but have been seeing some appear in the last few weeks.
Erfa’s Thyroid from Canada: When it became clear that the FDA was allowing this excellent product to be shipped to patients, many switched and had their prescriptions faxed to a Canadian pharmacy. Prices at many of those pharmacy websites were doubled after prescriptions started to come in from the US. Most patient who stuck with it seem to love it, reporting you can do it sublingually, as well. A few haven’t been impressed, but were finding their former success by raising it.
Compounded desiccated thyroid: In spite of being a more expensive option, some patients found success with this. Others learned they preferred the filler to be Acidophiles. If not the latter, Microcrystalline Cellulose was preferred over Methyl Cellulose–the latter which appeared to lessen the effectiveness of the compounded thyroid.
Synthetic T4 and Synthetic T3: some patients switched back to the synthetic combination, but many report that it hasn’t been as effective as desiccated thyroid was.
Other options: Patients moved to OTC products like Nutri-Meds, etc, which can be much weaker. Others sought desiccated thyroid from other countries and have found success.
So I’d like to hear from all of you. Did you go back to synthetic T4? What desiccated thyroid did you switch to? What worked and why? What didn’t work for you and why? What product do you hope to switch to once you run out of your current meds?