Millions of people have thyroid glands that don’t make enough thyroid hormone to meet their body’s needs.
Most people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis who take thyroid hormone medication are prescribed thyroid hormone replacement medications, which include two different categories: synthetic medication (which are man-made) or natural thyroid (which come from animals).
Medications Available to Balance Thyroid Hormones Include:
- Generic levothyroxine tablets
- Synthroid tablets
- Levoxyl tablets
- Tirosint gel caps
- Tirosint liquid (Tirosint SOL)
- Compounded T4 medications
T4/T3 combination medications
Differences Between Synthetic and Natural Thyroid Hormone
T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone, and if someone has problems converting T4 into T3 then they typically won’t do well when taking levothyroxine only.
There may be multiple reasons why your body isn’t doing enough converting of T4 to T3:
- Gut microbiota imbalance
- Lowered adrenal gland activity (adrenal fatigue)
- Iron deficiency anemia
While the doctor can also prescribe a synthetic form of T3 such as Cytomel, many people prefer a natural option.
On the other hand, natural thyroid hormone includes both T3 and T4, along with small amounts of T1, T2, and calcitonin.
Natural Thyroid formulations are derived from desiccated porcine (pig) thyroid glands which have been used to treat thyroid problems for more than 100 years.
Because it is made from the whole gland, desiccated thyroid is considered a more complete product, providing supplementation of thyroid hormones closest to what would be produced naturally.
Many patients who do not feel well on conventional T4 treatments, have reported feeling much better after switching to natural thyroid medications.
Natural Desiccated Thyroid Extract
In the U.S, natural desiccated thyroid extract (DTE) medications include the brand names Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, NP Thyroid, and WP Thyroid.
Canada’s desiccated thyroid is made by ERFA and called simply Thyroid.
All these brands consist of desiccated porcine thyroid powder, differing only in the binders and fillers.
Natural thyroid products are traditionally measured and available in “grains.” It is estimated that 1 grain of Armour Thyroid (or about 60-65 mg) is about the same as 100 mcg of levothyroxine (T4) or 25 mcg of liothyronine (T3).
One grain of Armour is 60 mg, and it contains 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, along with very small amounts of T1, T2, and calcitonin.
One grain of Nature-Throid is 65 mg and contains 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, plus very small amounts of T1, T2, and calcitonin.
This used to be called Westhroid, and is made by the same manufacturers of Nature-Throid (RLC Labs). One grain of WP Thyroid is 65 mg and contains 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, plus very small amounts of T1, T2, and calcitonin.
Some Thyroid Drugs Recalled Over Reduced Potency
FDA Voluntary Recall on Nature-Throid and WP Thyroid Products
On September 3, 2020, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced a voluntary recall by RLC Labs, Inc. for all batches of Nature-Throid® and WP Thyroid®.
These products are being recalled due to sub-potency with amounts of liothyronine (T3) or levothyroxine (T4) lower than specified. This could result in patients not receiving the full dosage of their medications.
Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Certain Lots of NP Thyroid® (Thyroid Tablets, USP) Due to Potency Issues
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC, is recalling certain “15-mg, 30-mg, 60-mg, 90-mg and 120-mg NP Thyroid®, Thyroid Tablets, USP [levothyroxine (T4) and liothyronine (T3)].”
The company announced the voluntary recall on April 29, 2021. The announcement states that the medication is being recalled “because routine testing has found these lots to be sub potent.”
- What is the difference between ERFA and Armour Thyroid tablets?
- How to Save 70% Or More On Your Synthroid Prescription?
- Hypothyroidism Symptoms and Common Prescription Medication
- The difference between Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism?
If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.
This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this medical condition or process and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress, please contact emergency services (such as 911).