I am writing this blog on Armour Thyroid (USP Thyroid/Westhroid/Naturthroid) to let you know what is happening with these thyroid hormone medication.
USP Thyroid/Armour/Westhroid/Naturthroid are derived from pig thyroid and contain both T3 and T4 as well as other minor thyroid hormones. Synthetic hormone medications are also initially derived from pig thyroid and then are processed by a lab making it synthetic. The most well known of these (Synthroid, Levothyroxine, Levoxyl) contain only T4. Synthetic T3 is also available (Cytomel) and is much stronger than T4. (Please see my past article on hypothyroidism for more information on the thyroid hormones.)
The makers of Armour Thyroid have currently stopped producing Armour Thyroid/Westhroid/Naturthroid. USP Thyroid is also off the market. There are conflicting reports on why this is happening but one story is that the medication is being restandardized and will be back on the market at some point.
For now, people who have been taking any of these natural thyroid medications can have USP Thyroid compounded into a cream by a compounding pharmacy (while pharmacies’ supplies last) and can apply the medication to the skin instead of taking it by mouth. Another option is to switch to synthetic T4 (Synthroid, Levothyroxine, Levoxyl, etc.) and monitor response and redraw labs 8-12 weeks after switching to the new medication to monitor thyroid hormone levels. If T3 levels are low when taking synthetic T4 and T4 levels are normal, we can consider adding synthetic T3 (Cytomel) in a small dose.
As each person is unique you will need to be assessed by your doctor to determine which medication is best for you and then monitor how you respond to the new medication.
We will hope Armour Thyroid and all its cousins will be back on the market soon!