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Mary Shomon

Thyroid Drug Price Watch: How Much Are You Paying For Your Thyroid Medications?

By March 26, 2009

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Periodically, it's useful to take a look at the costs of thyroid medications. For thyroid hormone replacement drugs (medication that is given for hypothyroidism), you'll see a comparison of the costs for a typical one month supply of 30 pills, for a variety of medications, including generic levothyroxine and brand names like Synthroid, and desiccated thyroid drug Armour Thyroid -- all at equivalent dosages. I've also included Cytomel, the brand name liothyronine drug, and antithyroid drugs that are used to treat hyperthyroidism.

* Prices are based on the costs at Drugstore.com, March 26, 2009.

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Comments
March 27, 2009 at 4:09 am
(1) Beverley says:

How is it that people are paying so much for their meds? If I miss a prescription and have to pay full price for my tablets it’s only 3 euro 10 centimes – around 5 dollars for 30 days.I take a generic form “levothrox” at 125mg made by Merck. Interesting. Especially as there are so few other makes of pill here in France.

March 27, 2009 at 7:23 am
(2) K says:

Why does Cytomel cost so much? It is an old drug. It is apparantly not available generically, and is manufactured by only one company. This is very wrong.

March 27, 2009 at 7:32 am
(3) Terri says:

I’ve been concerned about prices since last year when I’ve been having trouble getting my particular dosage (3g generic armour). Apparently the generic is no longer available at all (at least I haven’t found a source), which automatically raised the price. Then, my dosage became scarce, which has doubled the price everytime I go back to refill (every 3 months). I have gone from paying under $10 for a 90 day supply to paying around $80 (that’s almost $1/day) and this at a time when we lost our prescription coverage due to work layoffs :P Talk about sticker shock, lol. I’m dreading my next visit to the pharmacist, and feel like I’ve been caught on the short end of an artificial shortage/price raising conspiracy, given all the (sadly lacking) explanations I’ve been given by my pharmacist of why I haven’t been able to get my dosage, why the price changes and why the generic disappeared. Aarrgghh!

March 27, 2009 at 8:34 am
(4) Becky says:

I am not sure why people are paying so much. I take a generic form ďlevothrox” 137mg a day and i only pay $10 for a 90 day perscription through Super Kmarts pharmacy.

March 27, 2009 at 8:52 am
(5) SueGarza says:

Try Wal-Mart. Generic Synthroid (Levothyroxine) is on their $4 rx list.

March 27, 2009 at 9:02 am
(6) phyl says:

i’ve been taking synthroid since 1975, and can not believe the way the cost for this drug has gone up. i really don’t understand how that works. it’s the same medication as far as i know, so why is it so much higher now?

March 27, 2009 at 9:02 am
(7) phyl says:

i’ve been taking synthroid since 1975, and can not believe the way the cost for this drug has gone up. i really don’t understand how that works. it’s the same medication as far as i know, so why is it so much higher now?

March 27, 2009 at 9:18 am
(8) G says:

What bugs me is that my rx coverage pays for synthroid 100% and it doesn’t cover a dime of armour!

March 27, 2009 at 9:59 am
(9) Pepper says:

I also do not understand why insurance companies don’t cover Armour. It has always been cheaper than Synthroid or Synthroid generics.

March 27, 2009 at 10:15 am
(10) Karen says:

My doc says no generic so I pay about 20 bucks for synthroid 30 tabs

March 27, 2009 at 10:36 am
(11) purpleladybug says:

This is stupid. how do they get away with charging all these different prices! I only pay 10 dollars for a 90 day supply of levothyroxine 125mcg. This is at any Hy-Vee pharmacy.

March 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm
(12) Amanda says:

Levothyroxine did absolutely nothing for me. I use a compound T4/T3 mix and it had made all the difference in the world (along with bio-identical hormones which were also very much off). However my Insurance does not cover any of this.So here I am with insuirance and paying a good $200 every 3 months, which I have to say I pay gladly because it gave me my life back. Mary, can you provide more information on the compound medicines front?

March 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm
(13) Mary says:

I get my Armour at Costco. I get 300 at a time in sealed bottles of 100. I forget the exact price but I did figure out my monthly cost taking 3/4 days wk & 2/3 days wk. My monthly cost is about $14.75 (avg for 28,30 & 31 days in a month). I experienced no price increases when there was a shortage.

The prices for Cytomel is outrageous! I was taking 25mcg of time release T3 and the price was/is $50 for 100 capsules at a compounding pharmacy. Plus it is a much improved way to take T3 as you are not blasted with the dose all at once, but the TRT3 releases over a period of 12 hours.

And I’ll bet many prescription plans jumped on the bandwagon of not covering Armour once Medicare stopped covering it… saying it is an outdated drug. Probably thanks to pressures from Abbott labs!!!!

March 30, 2009 at 6:28 pm
(14) Victoria says:

I pay $10 for three month’s worth of generic levothyroxine at WalMart.

April 1, 2009 at 6:34 pm
(15) Cammy says:

I pay $19 for 30 day supply of Synthroid 112mcg at Sam’s Club. For some reason my insurance in not paying for this. It’s the standard cost.

April 6, 2009 at 4:58 am
(16) Jill R says:

My Armour just doubled because Walmart is now dispensing the hospital blister packs due to continued Armour shortages. 3 months ago, 300 x 60mg (1 grain) tablets cost $50. The same dose of blister packs cost $88 yesterday. Sticker shock for a person laid off work like me. I’ll have to shop around to see if anyone stocks the 100-tablet bottles next time around.

June 14, 2009 at 12:59 pm
(17) Jenny says:

I’ve had hypothyroidism for 12 years now. I came online then to research it but there was virtually nothing online about it; then about five years after that and there was a little information; then about five more years later again and I found just repeats of what little there was five years previous, and then I come online and in just a couple of years researching thyroid disease and there has been an explosive amount of literature and data; I’m so excited, but the drawback is the cost factors involved.

I’ve always taken generic, and for the last couple to few years – Levothyroxin; which is cheapest at Wal-Mart; $12 for a 30 day, $10 for a 90 supply. One thing to note for many people like myself is that a good doctor first of all will give you up to a one-year full supply without refills after the first three months of targeting your needed levels. After that once you’ve maintained your levels for four years; with only one more blood test after the first two years and before the next two years – you should be able to go for four to five years without another blood test, and your Good doctor will simply call in a year to year prescription for you. A very good way to maintain your levels is to always be consistent with taking your pill every day, or night, at the same time, and whether you take it with or without food, that too must be consistent. I have always taken mine without food because I believe there is better bio-availability. My levels only changed one time in 12 years, and that was because I experienced hardship and had a hard time getting my pills, and thus not maintaining that consistency.

I have been spending the last few months and well over one-hundred hours in research of health alternatives that are medical. I’ll share with you the latter first, and that is that I came across literature and data on the supplement Iodine, and how extremely vital Iodine is for every living cell, but most importantly how vital it is for the Thyroid Gland. Iodine is vital for, and in, all organs, and the Thyroid Gland needs and uses the most iodine intake out of every organ in our bodies; next are the Ovaries and then the Mammary Glands (breasts). Iodine deficiency is one of a few precursors to both Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism; which, means in becoming sufficient through supplement intake both hypo and hyper can be improved. Since there are several different factors that can be the cause for thyroid diseases this may not apply to everyone, but the vast medical research by scientists, bio-chemists, and doctorís have come up just short of one-hundred percent that almost everyone suffering from a thyroid disease are low to very low in iodine; iodine deficiency. In reality about 90% of Americans are believed to be deficient; thatís two-hundred and ninety million people! Now all deficiencies are different; in that many people are just a little deficient, and while theyíre not suffering greatly Ė they are still lacking a quality of life that can otherwise be improved. The more problems we have with either/and/or the thyroid, ovaries, and mammary organs the more iodine deficient one is and their dosage will have to be higher. In my opinion this far from my research is that iodine deficiency is not the root cause of thyroid disease; though it can be in a very minuscule percentage perhaps, but the deficiency in my opinion exacerbates thyroid disease tremendously. The reason I say iodine deficiency could perhaps be a root cause of a minuscule percentage is because it can alone be a cause; just like other deficient nutrients that can be a cause, but again itís very unlikely that will be you or I. Iím just now in fact ordering what is called Iodoral Ė which is Iodine/Iodide in a tablet; the iodide helps the Iodine become more soluble and has better bio-availability; meaning your body actually gets more and wastes less. It comes in 12mg and 50mg tablets. There is also a liquid Iodine/Iodide called Lugolís Iodine, but I would most definitely opt for the tablets. These are the only two supplements though anyone should consider because theyíre the only oneís that have existed through a legitimate scientific and medical background; dating back from the late 1700ís to the early 1800ís. Iodine treats countless physical, ďissues,í and some other diseases. For instance my research has led me to learn that Iodine not only treats Fibrocystic Breasts but literally eradicates it within just a few months to a couple of years, and because Iodine literally is needed and used in every single living cell you can understand why it treats a countless number of things. Twenty-percent of our skin cells uses and needs Iodine, so an iodine deficiency that becomes sufficient with iodine supplemental intake improves the quality of our skin, and it goes on and on. The RDA (recommended daily value) level of Iodine is 150mcg’s (or ug’s); however this is grossly insufficient by just one-thousand percent of what we need for our daily intake. In my research I have found that in Japan – where seaweed is vastly consumed (and they also cultivate the seaweed naturally in a special way to maintain the mineral properties) – has very high levels of Iodine, and the residents of Japan ingest 13.8gm per day; which is 13800mcgís. They have almost no breast cancers and mammary diseases, almost no reproductive cancers and diseases, and almost no prostrate cancer with men. I havenít read anything about the thyroid except that hyperthyroidism is not widespread at all; almost non-existent. Iím not a scientist or doctor, but Iím just guessing that like anywhere geographically we donít all like the same things and eat the same things, so Iím sure there are those there who do not like seaweed and other things. One thing I do caution with great stress is that you research iodine yourself greatly, and you must cross-reference much data from one source to another, because I have come across a lot of skeptical data that is inconsistent and is grossly inaccurate; you absolutely have to read A LOT to know what is accurate; something as minor as a cause or preventative can be just outright wrong, or the RDA in some research that confirms the countless treatments but still refer to the RDA here; makes absolutely no sense, etc. Stressing critical caution with dosing; it is absolutely best to get 12.5gm tables because itís easier to cut doses than from a 50gm tablet. (Check around, too, because prices do vary as much as $15 per two bottles of 12.5gm or one 50gm bottle, and some places do offer free shipping as well as lower prices; while others charge shipping with both lower and higher priced tablets.) What Iím going to do is take one 12.5gm tablet and cut it into thirds, so they will be very small pieces and 4.17mg doses to begin with. I will probably already notice some tiny difference of improvement, but I donít even care about that right away; for me itís critical to dose into it very slowly; no matter who says what. Iíll dose that for five days and then increase it to two-thirds, then Iíll wait another week and increase to one whole 12.5 mg tablet. I will stay at one 12.5gm tablet for 4-6 weeks and just see and feel what is happening within myself. When first taking Iodine there will probably will be side-effects; such as headaches and dizziness, etc, but thatís okay because Iodine is also a detoxifier and those side-effects are toxins being excreted out; which takes a couple of years to get up to about eighty-percent of toxins out. Also you can take 100mg-200mg of Selenium to stop the side-effects. However, if there are heart palpitations and other side-effects you should either decrease your dosage or stop taking them for a day or two, and start again with lower dosages. It is critical to work your way into higher dosages, because you donít really know what a good and safe higher dose is; in my opinion no matter who says what. The research Iíve done goes from 1mg per day to 50 and 75mgs per day, but those are for highly diseased physical states that use the iodine instead of it collecting as an excess when diseased states are not present. Also.. IT IS wise to take what is called a, ďIodine-Loading Test.Ē This is a test you take from a laboratory that sends you a kit. Part of this kit is taking four 12.5gm tablets in a twenty-four period; starting right after your first morning urinary release; you only do this once and itís purpose is for the test to be credible. You take these and then twenty-four hours later Ė the next morning – you collect your urine and send it into a lab, and they are able to determine if you are iodine deficient and, if so, by how much, and you probably are, because most of us are. This is about $75 dollars, and there are only two types of labs you should use; FFP Labs and Hakala Labs. I will be doing this myself, and no matter what Iíll still begin from tiny dosages into more dosages – over that time period I mentioned, and most likely I will eventually be at the dosage they suggest. Then after taking the dosage they suggest for about six months you get another test and see where you are, and most likely your dosage will then decrease; there after at some point you will remain at a lower dosage once you become iodine sufficient and your toxin levels become more deficient. Itís also critical to know that there are vitamins and minerals that along with Iodine will play key roles in: metabolic rates, receptors, and bio-availability, and you will very much need to know what those are, so get prepared for some research, study, and note taking if this interests you.

I highly suggest this book, ďIodine Ė Why you need it Why you canít live without it.Ē by Dr. David Brownstein. $15 plus $5 for shipping, and you can buy up to 3 books for $5 shipping costs then, too. https: //www. drbrownstein. com/bookstore. Php. (Not sure if Iíll be able to post this link, so I spaced it out, but otherwise just copy and paste it then backspace/delete the spaces.)

I also highly recommend one of his other books, ďOvercoming Thyroid Disorders,Ē I read straight-through to 182 pages; hard to put down; very informative. Iíll be on to the rest of the book later today. I have done hours upon hours of online research though already, and will continue to do more. Itís imperative that you research and cross-reference everything, because this doctor is only human and one doctor. The one thing I donít recommend is purchasing Iodine/Iodide, any thyroid hormones, or anything from this doctor because his prices are considerably more when you can find them cheaper elsewhere as I have. In this book is where I learned about Armour Thyroid, Westroid, and Nature-Throid instead of using the Synthroids like the Levothyroxin Iím using now. Every chapter in this book is essential knowledge for those who are seeking real knowledge and help to understand thyroid disease comprehensively, and you will want to read it because there is other information you should have before taking this medication, or any thyroid hormone; which, tells me I will have to perhaps stop all thyroid medication, to find out first about one such other factor: the adrenal hormone status, because if there is concomitant Ė hypothyroidism and hypoadrenalism both Ė the hypoadrenalism needs to be addressed first and can be reversed, and then the hypothyroidism is addressed. That is just one example of why itís important to read the entire book. Again, Itís also critical to know that there are vitamins and minerals that play key roles in: metabolic rates, receptors, and bio-availability, and you will very much need to know what those are.

Now moving on to yet more. I have collectively put in well over one-hundred hours of research that very much includes Amino Acids, Vitamins, and Minerals; both essentials and non-essentials. The literature and bio-chemical data especially with Amino Acids is very exciting. There are amino acids that can be taken to help thyroid disease; however, one must be diligent in studying and cross-referencing here, too. Amino acids are nothing to fool around with; they all have extensive bio-chemical/medical properties that play major roles, and if taken incorrectly can even kill someone. You cannot simply read a little and try something; you will have to actually study and cross reference every seemingly minor thing and known major components, and dosages. Iím not naming anything in specific because I wonít lead someone to one thing who might not learn anything more; extremely dangerous. The chances of one learning more will be in becoming enveloped while diligently researching. Store bought amino acids by the way are very deceiving for a number of reasons, and if people knew and understood the bio-chemical chain of events that takes place they would know better. Where I concern myself is with 99.1 to 100% pure pharmaceutical grade amino acids. Once one has the bio-chemical understanding of amino acids, and how they work and donít work Ė by themselves and with other internal chemicals and other amino acids Ė as well as vitamins and minerals, how they can have bio-chemical compounded changes and reactions Ė only then can one master the use of them and the desired outcome. Store bought amino acids are very deceiving for two very important reasons; they market for oneís attention by simply stating something like, ďSupports blood flow,Ē and that is dangerous for a number of reasons; like most of them are. The second reason is because they include additives and fillers that are counterproductive in other ways: foreign matter to the internal human body and/or toxic. I myself am not doing anything at all with my knowledge on amino acids at this time. Iím very excited and hopeful with my knowledge on Iodine, and now as well with the extensive knowledge Iíve been obtaining about thyroid diseases. I will most likely have contact with amino acids sometime after Iím settled with sufficient Iodine, and have completely settled and am satisfied with my thyroid treatment. Consequently I will resort to my knowledge of amino acids though if I believe Armour Thyroid, and/or the others alike, are too expensive, because Iím not willing to spend a drastic difference more than what I currently pay out now.

January 27, 2010 at 10:54 am
(18) Toby says:

Jenny,

I appreciated your comments and all of the research you have done to this point. My wife was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a couple of years ago and has struggled with symptoms despite medication (Levothyroxin) and I have done a little research on the subject with the hope of improving her health. I only recently started reading about Armour Thyroid, Westroid, and Nature-Throid and apparently differences in absorbtion times, ect. It has been a bit frustrating and I have been skeptical about how the treatment (dosing, testing, frequency of) have been going and am interested into looking at alternatives to the current treatment. I hadn’t heard of the possible Iodine connection prior to reading your comments. I may try to get the book you recommended and would appreciate any other suggestions or revelations you might find through your research. Thanks for your insights.

January 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm
(19) cindy says:

I need levothroid, but I don’t have insurance, seeing these prices though makes it easier to consider buing them at that price. But if I don’t have insurance, and no doctor, how can I get them prescribed to me? Can someone help please ?

March 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm
(20) Jackie says:

I know people go on here preaching about the benefits of iodine and for some people it really does help. But if you have advanced hashimoto’s beware, iodine can be dangerous. People with advanced hashimoto’s have little to no thyroid function therefore cells of the thyroid cannot put iodine to good use like with a normal thyroid that vitally NEEDS iodine. Instead all the iodine is kept in the bloodstream to be filtered out by the kidneys. Over time this is very taxing on the kidneys!!!! Stay away from seafood – limit iodized salt intake – don’t take iodine supplements and for heavens sake don’t let any medical Professional use iodine dye on you ~ my mom, aunt, and grandma all have hashimoto’s and have experienced aniphylactic shock due to iodine poisoning. My grandma experienced kidney failure and now will be on dialysis for the rest of her life. If you think you have of have been diagnosed with hashimoto’s – if you have thyroid Problems and have also experience allergic reactions after eating seafood beware of iodine. Japanese have been living on an island for thousands of years. Their bodies have had generations to adapt to this extreme iodine rich diet. Not all populations of the world can handle such gross amounts of iodine like Japanese or other island dwelling people or historically coastal populations

February 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm
(21) Jean says:

I just picked up a prescription from WalMart for Armour Thyroid, 60 mg, qty 90…today it was $50.67, the last time it was $26, which is so much higher than it was 2-3 years ago. Why?

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