Be aware: There seems to be an effort afoot to eliminate the most effective form of thyroid replacement, Armour Thyroid. It has become increasingly difficult to get in any dosage strength, and many patients are having to switch to more expensive alternatives.
When I started my practice, Wellness Works, back in 1994, I had a string of patients who all reinforced the same idea. They were all older ladies who came in on the synthetic alternative form of thyroid replacement, Synthroid. This drug is a form of T4, a prohormone that must be converted by the body to the active form, T3. Many people have a hard time making this conversion, due to genetic abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies or missing enzymes in their system. All these ladies were asking (almost begging) me to put them back on Armour thyroid, which is made from dessicated pig thyroids and contains both T4 and T3 as well as other components of the whole gland. They simply stated they felt better when they were on Armour. Since their new (young) doctor had switched them, they had less energy, their hair fell out more, they couldnt sleep at night and they had gained weight.
When a string of patients come in one after another, all saying the same thing, I tend to listen. I just dont believe theyd all be lying, or all be wrong about their personal experience. In fact, when I gave them back their Armour, they all did extremely well. They lost weight, their hair, skin and nails looked healthier, and they were massively appreciative. So I started prescribing Armour for all my patients who needed thyroid replacement, and pretty soon I was getting patients from all over the state and beyond, who were seeking a doctor who would prescribe this more natural, more effective option. Most doctors wont do it because Synthroid is what they learned about in medical school and they are not about to move beyond their training. (For the few who do, they use dosages that are about half what the patient needs, because of how the blood tests look on Armour vs. Synthroid.)
Then one day about 2000, the FDA started rattling sabers in the direction of this medicine. It was revealed that Armour had never been officially approved by this regulatory agency, whose members are mostly drug company executives who take a sabbatical from their high paying jobs to sit on the FDA, returning to their drug companies when their term is over. Talk about the fox watching the henhouse!
As it happens, the chief competitor, Synthroid was also never approved! (This news came out a few years later.) Both of these medications were around long before the FDA set the standard for approval so high that no one but a giant pharmaceutical company can afford to jump through all the hoops.
I have called the company that makes Armour, Forest Pharmaceuticals, and was told they are having problems with their supply of dessicated thyroid. Are we not slaughtering pigs anymore? Are we exporting all the thyroids to China now? Or maybe these factory pigs dont have thyroids anymore. Or maybe thats not the real reason. Its hard to know the truth.
The last resort for people who have thyroid problems now seems to be compounded thyroid made from synthetic T3 and T4 and put together by a pharmacy that knows how to make custom formulations. These are the same pharmacies that are making custom hormone preparations for many of our menopausal ladies and are also under attack by the FDA. I smell a rat. They dont want us to have freedom of choice in healthcare, they want us to line up for their drugs and be good patients.
What we can do is make noise about our choices in healthcare. Its not just who pays, its about what is being paid for. Take away Armour one day, take away vitamins the next, do nothing about the deadly Standard American Diet and we have corporate control of our health. Is that what we want?
If you wish to reply to this post, I will collect the responses and put them in a letter to the FDA, President Obama, Forest Pharmaceuticals and anyone else who might have some influence on the situation.
Carol L. Roberts, MD