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.