Armour Thyroid Medication Reformulation Part II

http://www.hospitalsoup.com/health-conditions/thyroid/armour-thyroid-medication-reformulation-part-ii

When Forest Labs changed how Armour Thyroid Medication was formulated, there apparently was no announcement made to physicians, pharmacists or patients taking the drug. Forest has not responded to my request for information or an interview regarding this issue although their Pharmaceutical Customer Service Telephone Number (866-927-3260) states that there are “unexpected production delays” with certain strengths of Armour Thyroid.

When my hypo-thyroid symptoms re-appeared after getting my thyroid prescription refilled, and it was the second time that this had happened, I went online to research possible causes. And imagine my amazement when I discovered I was not the only one having difficulty with the new Armour. I found hundreds of other patients with similar stories reporting brain fog, tiredness, muscle and joint pain, hair falling out, feeling cold, weight gain. All symptoms I was all too familiar with and which were associated with improper levels of thyroid hormone in my body.

According to sources who have been able to speak to someone at Forest Labs, the laboratory changed the fillers in Armour Thyroid. The changes that were reported to have been made include the following: increasing cellulose (this has made Armour more difficult to dissolve), and reducing the amount of dextrose (which was the ingredient which gave it a slightly sweet taste). The “active component” of Armour has said to have remained the same.

Why you must stay vigilant regarding any medications that you take: Medications are made up of “active ingredients” which is the actual part of the tablet containing the specific “medicine” and in-active ingredients which can be flavors, fillers, and dyes. This is why you may have a brand name medication that is similar to a generic version of a drug, but generic versions may work differently for individuals. Because all of us are unique in how we respond to medications, certain fillers or non-active components of a medicine may help or hinder your body from absorbing or responding to a particular medication. That is one reason why in certain cases some physicians will not allow substitution of a generic drug for a brand name, or perhaps vice-versa. In the case of the Armour reformulation it has nothing to do with generic vs. brand names but it is important to understand how fillers, dyes and flavors can effect your response to a medication. From the hundreds of e-mails I’ve received from thyroid patients who had read my first post regarding Armour Thyroid’s reformulation it appears that there are many of us whose bodies are not responding properly to the medication change.

If you are taking Armour Thyroid and have comments about this issue please enter your thoughts below. Let me know if you are experiencing any problems or if the medication is still working for you. One way to tell if you have the “old” Armour or new formulation is that the old formulation had a stronger smell, whereas the new one is less pungent. If you’ve taken Armour before you will understand.

In the next installment, I’ll explain what thyroid medication I am now using, and the good news is that I am slowly getting back to my old self, and the hypo-thyroid symptoms are slowly disappearing.

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36 Comments

Filed under Abbott, Armour, Heart Problems, Hypothyroidism, SSRI, Synthroid, T3, T4, Thryoid, Uncategorized

36 responses to “Armour Thyroid Medication Reformulation Part II

  1. Amy Philo

    Muscle and joint pain. Yep.

    • Trish

      I’m not crazy!! I knew something was different. It didn’t smell the same. For the last year I’ve been going to my rheumy complaining of my lupus symptoms….now I believe they are all related to my thyroid and the fact that my body is not responding to the reformulated armour. I have always been an advocate for armour, but when I went to my Dr.’s appt yesterday, he suggested I try the synthetic..I agreed because I told him that the armour wasn’t working for me.
      I’m really scared now because I don’t think this new drug will help me either….what are the options now??

    • Ele Larson

      Oh gosh, I didn’t know anything about this stuff until my husband came home with a prescription for synthyroid after taking Armour for about 20 years. I asked why and he said “it’s been discontinued”. I thought “oh NO”. I immediately went to the internet and saw the answer to why I haven’t been able to get out of bed for the last six months. AND why I lost half of my hair, too. AND the depression and mood swings. I take 120mg 3x a day. I had no idea. To say I am angered would be an understatement. I will NEVER take any drug that isn’t compounded again. This is a crime.

  2. prapata

    Hi, I am so happy I found this today. Since a few month I had so many arthritis type pains, I stopped exercising. I thought I might have Lyme
    because I had a tick bite me last november but tests came back negative. I have been on the same dose of Armor since 18 years and only once went hypo when I started taking glucosamine a few years ago which blocked the Armor going into my blood.I noticed 3 month ago that all I wanted to do is lay around, stoped doing my art , hardly cleaned my appartment. My last thyroid test came out hyper though and it might be because of extra calcium I was taking for my pains. Anyway I stopped taking the Armor for about a week and started feeling much better ,than started on half of what I was taking befor and I am waiting to get the test back. Even though I am taking half I feel like I am being poisened soon after I take it. My eyes are all yellowish where the white part is.i will ask my Dr. to perscribe Natur -throid now.

    • jeaton79

      Unfortunately Nature throid is on back order for awhile…..hopefully you will get it and feel better soon!

      Good Luck!!

  3. JoEllen

    Finally my dosage was accurate normal menstrual periods and weight in control.

    Over the last few months no menstrual periods again, weight gain, night sweats and hot flashes again. These had cleared up then with this latest perscription all have returned.

  4. Ro

    And now Armour thyroid is backordered and unavailable!? What can I expect reverting to Synthroid while I wait?

    What kind of manufacturer leaves people in the lurch like this?

  5. Gary

    I just found out about all this. I started to feel strange around April of this year; now I know it must be connected to the reformulation.
    Just a thought – the FDA might now be able to claim that the reformulation disqualifies it for “grandfathered” status and consider it “unapproved.”

    • Marilynn

      response to Gary: My RA symptoms started in April last year also. Couldn’t figure out why a person of my age of 77 would suddently have an ‘attack’. Been on Armour thyroid seems like forever and thought the formulation might be different. I wondered if it came from China or something. Now I think I really don’t have RA because my other tests don’t bear out that I have it except for horrible swelling in hands.

  6. colleen a harrington

    Yep, thought I was imagining things also, joint pains, hot flashes all back and I’ve been on the new reformulation because it doesn’t taste as sweet and it is harder to dissolve. For this company to do such a horrible job in keeping its customers informed makes me wonder why there is no competition and just this one company manufacturing this product.

  7. Linda

    Well this certainly explains a lot to me. I also am having hair falling out again along with fatigue, muscle and joint pain, not being able to keep up with everyday things etc.. I have had blood test taken and they come back normal, but will my Dr. listen..NO. Today I found out about the shortage and not making Armour Thyroid. So I will have to go back to Synthroid. I DO NOT WANT TO!!!!!!!!!! I guess this will make my Dr. happy as he has been trying to get me to get off of Armour but I refused. …Please start making our medicine the way it use to be made.

  8. Jan

    Well this is an eye-opener! I wondered what the heck was happening with me! I have put on 20 lbs since going off NaturThroid a year ago….and back on Amour. The pharmacist recommended I do so. He said it was better!
    However, both are made from pigs or beef thyroids and now I am concerned about that…..no wonder we are gaining weight mixing with a animals DNA for the gland!
    I wish I didn’t start any of these thyroid meds…! Also, everytime I go to get a refill the price goes up. I called Forrest lab and they said its not them its the distributor…I called them in Dublin Ohio which is Cardinal Distributing company which is owned by a bunch of wall street bank speculators and Forrest said that they are creating a shortage of certain doses probably so that it creates a supply/demand effect and then they can feel justified in increasing the cost…….and that is exactly what is happening…now I hear they are putting filler’s in it..which is causing my labs to go haywire and I have gone from Naturthroid 1.5 grains to Amour 1 gr. to 1.5 to 2 to now 2.5 grains and I do not feel so well…in fact at times I feel I am getting too much kind of hyper…..anxious….other times I have no energy….and I have constitipation when I didn’t on Naturthroid or Synthroid …….what the heck is going on here ………what a scam again against woman’s health……
    If I would have known that by taking thyroid pills would have suppressed my thyroid gland and dried it up never to be restored to producing its own hormone I would have never went on any of these damn pills.!
    Has anyone taken some Flower concoction to get off thyroid? Its advertised on the internet…..2 years ago I tried to get off my Naturthroid cuz I was in a state where they didn’t have it and needed a big cost exam and lab tests from some doctor in order for him to order it….no insurance coverage that time……
    So I went to the Nature’s Sunshine shop and bought some Thyroid exlir and a muscle test and took recommended doses…..I felt great ……now I can’t buy that anymore so went back to the doctor who put me on Amour and started back on it…..and I feel miserable !
    What should I do……? I go to the doctor tomorrow and she won’t know anymore than I do most likely…….
    When I was on the Naturthroid I did get some hot flashes though…….I think its criminal that Forrest lab did not tell my doctor about the changes they made…his staff is all on Amour and they all are about 50 to 100 lbs overweight!
    What a mess..I was never this fat when I was not taking any thyroid….my sister is the same way….she is way over weight on Amour……my grandfather had a goiter..
    well …any one got any advice by tomorrow??????????LOL
    Jan

  9. Betty Wayne

    This past month Walgreens in Scottsdale could not get Armour Thyroid any more. I am on a synthetic and feel hyper, and have no energy.
    I don’t know what to do.

  10. Julie

    Sudden Bad reaction to new Armour

    I took the old Armour a couple of years ago and did fine on it but switched to Nature Throid last year because my pharmacy ran out. The last script I filled they switched me to Armour because they had no Nature Throid. I had heard something about the formulation being changed but thought I would be OK. I was wrong. Within half an hour of taking my morning dose yesterday I began experiencing a feeling of heaviness and weakness in my arms and shoulders and tingling in my fingertips. I felt shaky and found it hard to concentrate on what I was doing. I was lucky to find a source of Nature Throid and get back to normality.

  11. Cecilia

    I have been taking Armor 60mg for 7 years or more and doing fine, weight controlled. I started taking Levothyroxine 50 for the last month, because I can’t get a refill of Armor, and noticed that I am gaining weight. Why?

  12. The Armour now makes me ill. I was fine for a year on it. One day, I sublingually dissolved a pill under my tongue, and it tasted like chalk.
    Since then, I have gained 14 pounds, lost some hair, feel foggy and listless, and the extent of what I can do well is to watch TV with the dog.
    I wrote the FDA. Their “answer” follows (note that it reads like a commercial for Synthroid):

    Dear Jessica,

    Thank you for writing the Division of Drug Information, in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) would like to note that dessicated thyroid products are not FDA-approved products even though they are on the market and available to consumers. In addition, FDA has not ordered all unapproved thyroid products off the market. Rather, FDA has urged all companies who market unapproved drug products, including thyroid products, to submit applications for approval. FDA is concerned that drugs marketed without required FDA approval have never been submitted to rigorous scientific evaluation, and therefore may not meet required standards for safety, effectiveness, quality, and labeling. Marketers of drug products in the U.S. have an obligation to the public to ensure through the FDA approval process that their products meet modern standards for safety, efficacy, quality, and labeling.

    Regarding possible future action against unapproved thyroid products, as a policy matter we do not discuss potential, pending, or ongoing actions except with the firms and individuals who are the subject of those actions. Class actions against unapproved drugs are made in accordance with the priorities discussed in FDA’s Compliance Policy Guide on Marketed Unapproved Drugs, http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM070290.pdf. Information about enforcement actions against classes of unapproved drugs is posted on the FDA website. For additional information regarding unapproved drugs, please access our unapproved drugs website at the following link:
    http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/EnforcementActivitiesbyFDA/SelectedEnforcementActionsonUnapprovedDrugs/default.htm.

    Some inquiries to FDA have cited reports of shortages of unapproved thyroid products. RLC (also known as Western Research, manufacturer of West-Throid and Nature-Throid) reports that they are currently in backorder for all Westhroid and Nature-Throid products. Major reports one strength of desiccated thyroid is currently available and Forest reports they are in backorder on all strengths and working restore availability. The reasons provided by the companies for the current unavailability of these products have related to raw material shortages as well as manufacturing delays.

    We advise you to talk to your doctor about possible alternatives if you are unable to obtain your usual thyroid medication at this time. Please note there are several approved levothyroxine products available. Examples include Synthroid, Unithroid and levothyroxine sodium tablets. Please let our Drug Shortage program know if you have difficulty obtaining one of these alternatives listed above. The Drug Shortage e-mail account is drugshortages@fda.hhs.gov.
    Best regards,

    CAO
    Division of Drug Information
    Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
    Food and Drug Administration

    For up-to-date drug information, follow the FDA’s Division of Drug Information on Twitter at FDA_Drug_Info

  13. patricia

    ok peops…I was having much trouble as well, mostly I was experiencing a racing heart and just an overall very anxious feeling. I called a compounding pharmacy and they can compound the natural dessicated thyroid according to your needs.
    Also just a tip for people with hypothyroid who are overweight…when you have thyroid disease your digestion is slowed down and your food sits in your stomach longer. So don’t eat foods that are hard to digest. Don’t eat meats and cheeses or at least cut back. Do eat a lot of veggies and beans. Stop eating “white foods” eat only brown rice, whole wheat, cut out yeast and white or processed sugars. Whole foods are easily digested.

  14. Sharon

    I just found out today that I no longer will be getting Nature’s Thyroid. I cannot feel well on a synthetic. What can I do? I have also put on 40 lbs. in the last 6 months! I am si miserable! I don’t know who to blame – but I am disgusted over all this mess!

    • Patricia

      Hi Sharon,
      Go online or find a “compounding pharmacy’ in your area, they can make a natural dessicated thyroid hormone for you(same as naturethyroid and armour)

  15. not this time

    To hell with the FDA-go to Canada. There are at least 6 great online pharmacies that will take your doctor’s prescription via fax or email and send it to you. And the best part is that it’s the OLD Armour. Stinks like it should. Ha! And works like it should. Oh Canada! Love Ya!

    • Lisa

      what are the phone numbers of the pharmacies

      in Canada?

    • Shelia

      What are websites for the pharmacies in Canada??

    • Lynne

      I was not aware of an Armour reformulation until I found this thread. I was on Armour from 1974-1990. Then Synthroid from 1990-2006 when I went back on Armour. I did notice that the new Armour didn’t have the same smell as the old Armour. I used to hold my breath when I opened the bottle of the old stuff. Anyway, with the supposed “shortage” of natural thyroid in the States, I would up getting it from a Canadian pharmacy. After being on it about a month, I notice I feel hot all the time and have night sweats. I thought this was the start of menopause but now I wonder if it is the Canadian thyroid. I have also lost 3 pounds in a month on the Canadian stuff. Makes me wonder if the 120 mg U.S. Armour that I took didn’t really have 12o mg in it and the Canadian version DOES, which would mean that I need less of it.

  16. Lisa

    I was feelling so great after taking Armor. I have not been able to get it anymore. So far nothing else has worked for me including two different compounded medications. My health has been declining daily. I feel horrible. I am barely functioning. How can this company just change it’s medication. I think it is very dangerous. Isn’t there someting that can be done legally?

  17. Lynn

    I just recently found out about the Armour reformulation. I have been on Armour for about 10 yrs. I started feeling pretty bad (headaches, racing heart, weight gain, hot flashes/night sweats, depressed, anxious ) early summer…same time that I started bouncing around to diff. pharmacys looking to get however many pills they had available, of the Armour, to give me. I thought that my problem was just going to be not being able to get the meds…now I realize with all that I have been reading that my symptoms are due to the reformulation…it all adds up now. I do not want to go back on a synthetic…been there, done that, doesn’t work for me. I don’t know what to do…I am worried about my health. Has anyone had any luck with the compounding pharmacys?

  18. Doug

    Please , let’s not bring the FDA into this . They are so against anything natural and slanted (money talks) toward drugs & patentable profitable products it would be criminal if a private person tried to do the same thing. Perhaps the better business bureau or some other organization? The first thing would be to complain directly to Armour and let them know that you will be compelled to share your experience with other potential customers. If they were to get enough of those kinds of comments they would likely make a change (&in fact may now be in the process of doing just that) I hope & pray that a solution can be found soon (we are in the same search) In regard to the FDA, I recommend that people do not look to that organization or any other gov. agency but rather seek the guidance & wisdom of GOD, don’t fall for something if it sounds to good to be true, check out the company before you buy etc

  19. Jesuslover

    The fAct they say only the filler changed has to be bullshit. There is Jo way that all of us can be having such extreme thyroid symptoms if all they changed was the filler.
    Try taking more of it and see what happens. They probably did it so they can make more money. Just when we thought there was a company we could trust And rely on. This medicine is crap compared to the old stuff. Im not sure it works at all… But I’m going to double up and see what happens because I live in Europe where it takes one full month to get this medicine delivered from the u.s. This whole nightmare with thyroid meds and diagnosing is the biggest medical scam in human history.

    • Jean Friedlander

      I think the same thing. I heard that there is a connection with pharmaceutical companies and our government here in the US. I also heard they are trying to take over on natural products. They are against natural products (like hormones) because other companies are making them. Supposedly, that is why the FDA will not approve alot of hormones. It is government controlled. It will probably take many years before we can get decent thyroid medication, however, I believe it CAN be done. They just aren’t doing it, for money. Hoepfully, one day, it will all change and some big pharmaceutical company government controlled will make something decent for all of us who need this medication. It really is terrible they do not think about the people. With our government, money comes first. I never understood that. They can take care of both at the same time. The people are who matter.

  20. Lynne

    I think all I did was google “Buy Canada thyroid” and a lot of pharmacies came up on the search. It was so easy to buy from them. Good luck.

  21. Lynne

    Just saw my doctor today and she told me there was never a shortage of natural thyroid in the U.S. What they are doing is shipping it TO CANADA. The stuff we buy from Canada is actually made in the States. We didn’t get any further into it or even discuss why but there you go. Sounds to me like if anything, the natural has been banned for sale in the U.S.

  22. Jean Friedlander

    I am having problems with the fillers also. I cannot benefit from any thyroid medication the same as I did with the Old Armour.
    I think I may try a pharmacy that will compound it by hand, without any fillers at all.

    I hope that answers your question. Do they make the Old Armour overseas? I was wondering if they changed it there also. I know Forest Pharmaceuticals are located there also.

    Does anyone know? I was thinking maybe I could get it from overseas. Knowing people to ship it to me themselves will help. I think it may be illegal for the pharmacies to ship any medications to the US. Does anyone know about that?

  23. Janet

    I’ve been on Armour Thyroid for 14 years; and on Synthroid before that. I’ve have had a lot of hair loss in the last 2 years or so and other symtoms related to hyothyroidism. I had radio active treatment to my thyroid 40 years ago and have to take thyroid medication the rest of my life. My doctor has had to lower my dose two times since June 30, 2010 because of anxiety and heart palpitations, out of breath. I was taking 3 – 30 mgs a day (90mgs)for the 14 years. The dose was down to one a day; the 2 a day and then back to 3 a day. Then the palpitations started again Now I’m on 2 – 30 mgs a day and blood test show hypothyroidism. So he put me on 3 – 30mgs one day and 2 – 30 mgs the next, because there is no dose in between. I’m still not feeling well. I have ringing in my ears constantly and my I can’t hear too good out of my right ear. Can these new fillers in Armout Thyroid be causing hearing loss. I hope it is not permanent. I’m getting tired of being a guinea pig and getting blood tests every 4 weeks. The FDA should not allow these drug companies to experiment with the prescriptions while patients are taking them. It is causing all kinds of unnecessary health problems. I wouldn’t doubt if some patients have had heart attacks. Why didn’t they leave the formula alone? Are they changing it so they can raise the price? It doesn’t seem to be for the good of the patient.

  24. margaret reagan

    I notice slight changes in the way I felt at first but then about 3 months ago after refilling my prescription for Armour I become very ill. Experiencing symptoms of insomnia, hypertension, nervousness, pounding heart, light sensitivity. These symptoms were present even after reducing the dose. I traveled 100 miles to see my former endocrinologist to learn of the re-formulation of Armour. I don’t understatnd how a medication that helped me for 5 years could now make me sick and why was the medication changed! How could Forest Lab make a change like this without informing the patients!

  25. twingurls2003

    My legs and feet ache so badly upon waking I can hardly walk. I was on Synthroid 8 months and gained 47 Lbs it took 4 doctors to change my prescription to Armour! I’m now considering not taking anything I’m so sick I agreed to a full thyroidectomy from a dr who just wanted money and feel my life has been ruined. I feel fat depressed my hair is falling out and these damn doctors don’t care.

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