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Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs: An Update

March 2010 -- Where Are We Now?

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Updated March 23, 2010

Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs: An Update

Natural desiccated thyroid drugs are increasingly available, but patients still face challenges.

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The increasing availability of Armour Thyroid has been confirmed by patients, who are reporting that their pharmacies are getting shipments of 30 and 60 mg (1/2 and 1 grain) Armour Thyroid.

In discussions with Forest Laboratories (which still will not officially speak to or respond to media inquiries regarding their thyroid drugs, and will only answer direct patient inquiries) patients have reported to me that Forest representatives have said that the company intends to continue producing the reformulated version of Armour that came (unannounced) onto the market last spring and caused problems for a subset of patients.

The Status of ERFA Thyroid

In May of 2005, pharmaceutical manufacturer ERFA Canada bought "Thyroid," which was the brand name for Canadian desiccated thyroid from Pfizer Canada Inc. By late 2005, ERFA released their first batches of Thyroid onto the market, and have continued to produce their natural desiccated thyroid drug since that time. During the 2009-2010 shortages, some U.S. patients have ordered ERFA Thyroid via prescription from Canada, and have found it to be an acceptable, quality brand of natural thyroid. Availability of ERFA has been good, however, concerns remain regarding reliance on a medication produced outside the U.S., that must be imported into the U.S. Some patients have reported that their shipments of imported thyroid medications have been confiscated by U.S. Customs officials, and returned to the senders, while others have been using ERA for several years, with no difficulties importing their shipments. Federal regulations regarding importation of drugs into the U.S. for personal use are imprecise at present, however, and importation of drugs from Canada for personal use depends on loose enforcement and "turning a blind eye" by various federal officials, a situation that could change at any time.

The Status of Compounded Natural Desiccated Thyroid

Some patients remain on prescription compounded natural desiccated thyroid drugs, and compounding pharmacies report sufficient availability of raw materials, and no difficulties meeting demand for compounded natural desiccated thyroid drugs.

More information on compounded natural desiccated thyroid is available in this article.

Follow the Natural Desiccated Thyroid Issue

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