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Mary Shomon

How to Get Your Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drug Prescription Filled

By August 25, 2009

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As the shortage of natural desiccated thyroid drugs -- like Armour and Nature-Throid -- worsens, patients are finding it more difficult to get prescriptions filled. But if you are on a natural desiccated thyroid drug, and it's time to get your prescription refilled, here are some pointers to help you get the medication you need.

1. First, accept Westhroid if it's offered. There are some pockets of the natural thyroid drug Westhroid available at some pharmacies around the country. But some pharmacists have reported to me that patients have been turning down the Westhroid, saying "I've heard it's only a medicine for animals," or "It has cornstarch in it," or, "It's not the same as Nature-Throid."


Let's get this cleared up right away. Westhroid is not a drug designed for animals and pets. It's been in use as a natural desiccated thyroid drug for people for decades.


In the past, when Western was the manufacturer of Nature-Throid and Westhroid, RLC took over production of Nature-Throid and Westhroid, Nature-Throid was the hypoallergenic medication, and Westhroid did in fact have cornstarch. RLC switched the formulation, and Westhroid has an identical formulation to Nature-Throid. (Given that both products were now identical, RLC considered eliminating Westhroid, but some patients had been taking their Westhroid for years, and were so familiar with the name, that they resisted a name change, and RLC kept supplying their hypoallergenic natural desiccated thyroid drugs under both names: Nature-Throid and Westhroid.)


All this is to say: If a pharmacy has Westhroid, there is no reason to turn it down, as it is identical to Nature-Throid.


2. Make sure your prescription is written properly. The way it works with desiccated thyroid, if you have a prescription for Armour Thyroid, your pharmacist cannot fill it with Nature-Throid or Westhroid. If you have a prescription for Nature-Throid, your pharmacist cannot fill it with Westhroid, or Armour Thyroid. Even though Nature-Throid and Westhroid are identical drugs, they require specific prescriptions.


Right now, the ideal prescription for natural desiccated thyroid should be written as broadly as possible, and indicate "Natural desiccated thyroid" and the amount of grains (not mg) per day. If the prescription is written that way, a pharmacist could fill your prescription with any available desiccated thyroid drug he/she has in stock.


Your doctor could also write the prescription for "Natural desiccated thyroid " (Armour, Nature-Throid, Westhroid all acceptable), and specify the dosage in grains. Again, it's important that the prescription specify grains -- and not mg -- because while Armour compares grain to grain with Nature-Throid in terms of active ingredients, their weights in mg. are slightly different. So if your doctor specifies 60 mg instead of 1 grain, your pharmacist will only be able to give you Armour -- and not Nature-Throid or Westhroid, whose 1 grain tablets are 65 mg.


Here's a quick recap:


3. Take what you can get. Right now, there is such a shortage of natural desiccated thyroid pills -- as well as a shortage of the raw ingredient Thyroid USP used to make compounded desiccated thyroid -- that the old saying, "beggars can't be choosers" applies. If you find a pharmacy that has natural desiccated thyroid, make sure you have a prescription that can match up to what that pharmacy has in stock, and get the medication you need to get through the next several months of shortage.


4. Try smaller independent pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, and pharmacies that work with hormone replacement and bioidentical hormone drugs. They may be more likely to have some desiccated thyroid drugs still in stock.

5. Stay in touch with other thyroid patients. Many thyroid patients have been at the Save Natural Thyroid Facebook fan page, and my Facebook page, sharing contact information for pharmacies where they've found supplies of natural desiccated thyroid available, and mobilizing efforts to protect the availability of natural thyroid drugs. I invite you to "Friend" me there or join the Save Natural Thyroid page if you want to take part in those discussions.

6. Stay up on the latest developments. You'll want to bookmark my page "The Armour Thyroid and Nature-Throid Shortage" and return to it regularly to find out the latest news.


About Mary Shomon | Thyroid Forum | Twitter | Facebook


Photos: clipart.com

Comments
August 25, 2009 at 4:55 pm
(1) Erfa says:

One other option is to get desiccated Thyroid from canada. We have received numerous phone calls from US patients wishing to get desiccated Thyroid product from Canada. Many Canadian online pharmacies may consider prescription from the US. We also have enrolled numerous US patients on a special access program in order to receive the medication. We do not expect any shortage in Canada.

August 25, 2009 at 7:02 pm
(2) Liz says:

Hey, Mary.

I have been on Armour for two years (almost exactly), but because my dose is low (3/4 grain per day), I’m really afraid you’re saying I won’t be able to sub with any other dessicated thyroid med. Is this right?? I was on Synthroid for a MISERABLE 3 weeks or so and thought I was dying, as I had classic signs of hyperthyroidism, including heart palps, and I will NEVER take it again. I also have epilepsy (FINALLY completely controlled) and worry about what I can and can’t take with Keppra.

Any thoughts at all??

Thank you!!!!!!!!

LIZ in RI

August 26, 2009 at 6:32 am
(3) Linda says:

Hi–Would you please (pretty please!) let us know how to get the meds in Canada? What do we have to do, or call, or go…? I had some Canadians friends look for me and one couple said the Pharm there said it was illegal to sell to Americans. I have about 2 months left, and I am beginning to sweat here. I have every intention on purchasing through Canada, and will pay out of pocket–but have no idea how to do this.
Thanks so much!
Linda

August 26, 2009 at 8:10 am
(4) Daren says:

I found this compound pharm has stock of Thyroid replacement for Armour Thyroid, the raw ingredient in Armour. I take 45mg, but they can make to order. They ship direct. Have your doctor call them. Online at apexpharm.com

September 17, 2011 at 3:21 am
(5) Joy Page says:

I have Blue cross-Blue Shield insurance wil it cover desicated thyroid and can I get my MD to write a rx for it?

August 28, 2009 at 6:50 am
(6) patti says:

my doctor says I do not need to continue with the natural supplement due to I am taking the synthetic and has suggested once I run out to just stop taking the natural altogether…thoughts?

August 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm
(7) Mary says:

I just called Costco Pharmacy. They cannot supply 60mcg Armour but have plenty of 120mcg. So I filled with 100 of the 120′s. I have heard the new formulation is difficult to split pills. I hope it works out ok.

August 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm
(8) Mary says:

Thank you Daren, I called Apex to be sure they could fill a prescription and they gave me instructions for my (in my case) naturopath to fax in a prescription in mgs….apparently no supply problem…I will be interested to see if I can tell a difference in product from Armour. Armour has been a lifesaver to me and I am most disturbed to hear that Forest Labs messed with the formulation to the distress of numerous patients.

A comment to Patti. I too had doctors who were adamant that I should be happy with levothyroxine, but it was clear to me that I still had severe hypo symptoms. I searched out a naturopath and it made all the difference in my levels of energy and mood.

August 30, 2009 at 9:42 pm
(9) Debbie says:

I have been on armour thyroid since I was 12 Years old, I am now 46.They tried levothyroxin for a year, thought I was going crazy until they finially gave me back the Armour. It is distressing to hear I may not be able to get it. I live around the St. Louis, Mo. area. Does anyone know where I could find a naturopath in this area. thanks

August 31, 2009 at 2:12 pm
(10) Leanne says:

I too went to apexpharm.com they gave me instructions to give to my Dr as to how to write the script and where to fax it. (they said they could not accept it from me just the dr. office) I also asked about insurance, and was told that they accept it, but it will be up to the insurance if they will cover it. Since mine considers Armor a level 4 (least coverage),so I end up paying retail anyway, I don’t expect anything from insurance. For 90mg I was quoted 50somthing for a 1 month supply but 91 for a three month supply. So get your script written for 3 months. I’m out of meds in 3 days, we’ll see how this works out.

September 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm
(11) Judy says:

Is Thyroid from Canada the same as the OLD Armour? Armour saved my life, but of late I have been having sleep difficulties, have gained wight, and am a bit foggy! I am reading that others have had similar experiences since the reformulation! I thought I was just getting old! So if the medicine in Canada from Erfa is the same as the old Armour I will be golden! Thanks

September 12, 2009 at 11:16 am
(12) Finallyfeelinggood says:

My thyroid story is too long to tell here, but thanks to years of reading this site, I finally switched to a Nurse Practioner who immediately diagnosed me with “being on the wrong thyroid med” and switched me from Synthoid to Armour in March of this year. I am still digging out of the backlog of house- and paperwork that were a physical manifestation of my increasing thryoid disease. I finally began to make it through entire days without naps! Then the shortage. If it hadn’t been for the information here, I would be lost. On my last visit I explained the supply situation, asked the NP to write the scrip in accordance with directions herein, and sent my order to
Canada. I deeply fear what could happen if the Feds take over all health care and not just the FDA.

September 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm
(13) Calista Smith says:

The health care system in Canada has been totally government-controlled for decades. So it is not the government you have to fear in the US when it comes to health-care regulation, it is the big pharmaceutical companies who only make money on newly patented medicines. The company that produces Armour in the US makes no real attempt to keep it available, because it is not very profitable.

September 16, 2009 at 6:18 pm
(14) Riki says:

I found a compounding pharmacy to fill my Armour Thyroid prescription. It appears as though they have several locations. There is a feature on their website to locate a pharmacy near you. http://www.uniteddrugs.com
Just a note, I too have had hypo symptoms return after the reformulation. Currently, we are trying an increased dosage to determine if that will meet my needs.

September 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm
(15) Robbie says:

I found a compounding pharmacy.

I want to make you, and others aware of these folks because they are just wonderful to deal, their pharmacy is totally hygienic, state of the art,(I went to see it to pick up my first batch), efficient, and they will ship anywhere in the USA via USPS Priority Mail. They will also help international patients find a compounding pharmacy in their neck of the woods.

They were aware of the problem with Amour, worked with me, and my doctor, taking all of my concerns about fillers seriously and professionally.

They are able to work with patients in regard to their concerns to reactions to fillers and excipients, by using non-reactive ingredients.

They provided me with desiccated Thyroid, T3 and T4 using microchrystaline wax, rather than cornstarch.

I feel they are a great resource for Amour Thyroid users. Here is their contact information:

Compounding Rx Apothecary
81 Lancaster Avenue,
Malvern, PA 19355

Phone:484-527-0203
Contact: Eric Fox, Pharmacist
(He’s also the owner)

October 4, 2009 at 8:16 pm
(16) JP Saleeby, MD says:

Some good points here, however have to be concerned with “get what you can”.. as changing from one form to another may play a roller coaster game on your system. Best to stick with one compounded preparation and not bounce back and forth between differing regiments.

I test and manage many patients with natural bio-identical thyroid compounded at reliable compounding pharmacies. With the difficulty in obtaining Armour I have been switching people to bioidenticals. For more information on my practice and services visit: http://www.CarolinaMobileMD.com

JP Saleeby, MD

(800) 965-8482

October 13, 2009 at 12:23 am
(17) Joanie says:

Yes, you can get natural thyroid in Canada! I received mine, 100 tablets in about a week and a half and they will refill as many as your doctor allows. Remember to refill early as you must wait for shipping. So far, it seems to agree with me very well. I got mine from Canada Medicine Shop in BC. There are many others as well.
It’s very easy, toll free numbers and fax numbers. Just google it! Good luck!

October 13, 2009 at 5:46 pm
(18) roberta lemon says:

I have contacted several Canadian pharmacys and they all buy from the U.S. so still can’t get natural thyroid.

December 2, 2009 at 7:50 pm
(19) Chris Barnett, Pharm.D says:

HOW TO FIND A COMPOUNDING PHARMACY

I am the Compounding Pharmacist and Owner of Westchase Specialty Pharmacy in Houston, TX, where we have been answering patients’ and physicians’ questions about thyroid medication for even longer than the recent shortage of manufactured medications. I am happy to be a resource of information for anyone on this site, but I also encourage you to seek out a *quality* compounding pharmacist in your area. Check out the websites for:

International Academy of Compounding Pharmacy
(IACP, 1-800-927-4227, http://www.iacprx.org)

or Professional Compounding Centers of America
(PCCA, 1-800-331-2498, http://www.pccarx.com)

for a referral within their extensive networks of compounding pharmacies. Both IACP’s and PCCA’s websites can give you wonderful guidance on finding a *quality* compounding pharmacy, but I’ll emphasize that compounding is a specialty field. Choose a compounding pharmacy that specializes in this skill (not just compounds on-the-side), one that emphasizes patient care, where you can speak with a pharmacist who answers your questions and is willing to work with you and your physician.

Even though manufactured thyroid medications are in short supply, compounding pharmacies are not, and I encourage you to find one that fits your personal needs.

February 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm
(20) Karen says:

I contacted Forest Laboratories today, and was told that they have shipped a “limited supply” of the 1 grain (60 mcg) and 1/2 grain (30 mcg) Armour Thyroid to pharmacies. Additional shipments are expected. I inquired as to what caused the shortage to begin with, as no one seems to be answering that question, and I was told they were unable to get enough supply of the desicated porcine thyroid needed from their supplier to keep up with the demand. I asked who the supplier was, and I was told that information was “proprietary.”

With a little further research, I learned that American Laboratories, right here in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, is the only U.S. manufacturer of desicated porcine thyroid. So I called them, and spoke to a very nice gentleman that said that due to contracts, etc. he wouldn’t be able to answer whether they specifically supply to Forest Laboratories. But upon further specific inquiries, to dispell various rumors I’d read online, he was able to tell me that their product in 100% USA made and rumors of melamine tainted desicated thyroid from China are FALSE. Whatever “hiccup” occured in production last year has been resolved and they are shipping their product to Forest Laboratories, so the “pipeline should continue to flow.” Meaning, Forest Laboratories is being supplied with the desicated porcine thyroid and should continue to produce the Armour Thyroid product uninterrupted.

While it still may be a little difficult to find in the very near future, it sounds to me like the supply should become readily available again shortly.

February 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm
(21) Jeremy says:

I am a Canadian pharmacist with Universal Drugstore in Winnipeg. I am surprised by Roberta Lemon’s comment (17) in which she says all Canadian pharmacies buy from the U.S. so there is no natural thyroid available from Canada. This is not correct. Our licensed Canadian pharmacy has plenty of stock of ERFA thyroid and we have shipped this product to 1000′s of American residents in the past couple of months. Most of had great success with the product.

You can find more information about the product and our service here ERFA Thyroid from Universal Drugstore

February 20, 2010 at 9:54 am
(22) Sarah says:

I was on Synthroid for a few months and felt horrible. This was after my endo stopped writing me a script for Armour since it was so hard to get. He refused to write the script after I found a pharmacy that hand compounded it–he thinks that’s some kind of black magic, I guess. Anyway, went to a naturopath, and she’s got me back on 1/2 grain of Armour. I’m getting it hand compounded from a GREAT pharmacy outside of Denver:

Peoples Pharmacy
255 Union Blvd., Ste 100
Lakewood CO 80228
303-987-0707

Mary is the Pharmacy Manager, she’s awesome. She really knows her stuff. They also do bio-identical hormones and medicines for pets.

I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a place to get your Armour (or anything else).

May 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm
(23) DB says:

Who do you go to in Denver? I live in Aurora and would like to try Armour–can you tell me who prescribes for you?

A reply to this forum will be sent to my email.

THANK YOU!!

March 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm
(24) Kim says:

I found some Armour and Nature Throid at

Apothecary Shop
512-345-1444

March 17, 2010 at 8:43 am
(25) Debbie says:

I was able to get my natural thyroid medicine from Canada but why can Canada get the medicine and not the U.S.?

June 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm
(26) Jennifer says:

I’m stressed bad. I lived in Alaska for about 10 years and had a Dr that was willing to help me, but I have recently moved and I can’t find a Dr that will prescribe me my current dose of armour. My old Dr. had me to go MedQuest but they were out of Armour and put me on a compound, since I started taking their compound I have gained 20 lbs, I feel foggy and catch myself starring a lot. I can’t remember words I feel like a fool. My husband is Army but those Dr’s are quacks.. I need a REAL Dr. that will help me, I’m not sure I want Armour anymore because of the reformulation. I read that Westhroid works just as well as the “Old” Aromour. Can anyone verify that for me or help me PLEASE??????? I can’t seem to get a new prescription for what I have been taking for the last 8 years!!!!! Can you believe that????

September 3, 2010 at 12:07 am
(27) Jean Bennett says:

How can you help an auto immune reaction from Hashimoto? My doctor said it runs its course and usually lasts for 6 months. It gets worse and worse until it finally passes and then it gets better.

What do I do? I am having one constantly. As soon as
it gets better, it starts all over again and lasts another 6 months. I don’t know what to do. I am getting very frightened and nobody knows what to do about it.

Can someone help me?

April 20, 2011 at 8:30 am
(28) kenneth meldrum says:

how can someone in the uk buy natural desicated thyroid ,
ie
if you travel to canada , can you purchase it, but do you not need a doctor to prescribe it, how would someone visiting canada but not resident there get a prescription

to be honest i would travel anywere in the world to purchase it
is it possible or impossible

October 4, 2011 at 11:24 am
(29) Victoria Thompson says:

I have been using ERFA thyroid for about a year obtained by prescription from Universal Drug Store. I ordered a refill on the phone from
Universal Drug Store (Winnipeg) over a month ago.

They charged my credit card and mailed it Sept. 6 and the prescription still hasn’t arrived. When I called to complain they refused to do anything about it until 21 business days are past – i.e. October 6. They would not let me order another refill, they would not let me talk to a supervisor. After 21 business days they will send another, but they do not have any expedited shipping so who knows when it will arrive. Or if.

Watch out for the Universal Drug Store shipping policy – my advice would be to use another provider.
V. Thompson

February 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm
(30) P says:

My thyroid med from Universal was seized at Customs and I got a letter from the custom port that it’s illegal to ship drugs into USA. Must be a new rule; I too called Universal when the order never arrived and they said that Customs had my shipment. They were refunding my CC as I did not want to re-order. And then the Customs letter came. So, now I will just have to see what the alternative MD decides next.

March 20, 2014 at 1:47 am
(31) vigrx usa says:

Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so
I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and
say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
Do you have any points for first-time blog writers?

I’d really appreciate it.

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