Desiccated Thyroid Medicine vs. Synthetic T4 only (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothyroxine)

Its easy to think all medicine is the same but when it comes to thyroid treatment, there is controversy about the effectiveness of the synthetic medicines like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothyroxine, Oroxine, and Norton. If you are taking a synthetic prescription like these keep reading, its possible the treatment is only doing part of the job, and possibly more harm than good.

The Basics about Thyroid Hormones

When it comes to treating Hypothyroidism, its important to understand the relationship between two important thyroid hormones; T3 and T4. According to Stop the Thyroid Madness (STTM), T3 is the active thyroid hormone which gives your body overall health, stamina and energy.  While, T4 is the thyroid storage hormone which converts T3 in the body.

Synthetic medicines like Synthroid only provide T4.  However, and this is the critical point, STTM claims a growing number of patients and doctors are realizing T4-only medicines do not help with the conversion of T3 in the body.  Most patients taking T4 only (synthetic medicine) are left with hypothyroid symptoms and related conditions, like high cholesterol, which could affect our overall health.

T4-only Medicines Doing More Harm than Good?

While synthetics medicines might be doing part of the job in treating Hypothyroid symptoms, according to STTM they may also be doing harm because lingering hypothyroidism puts stress on the adrenals which can lead to low cortisol.  To make matters worse, you think you are getting treatment with T4-only medicine but still have hypothyroid symptoms like chronic low grade depression, high cholesterol, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, bi-polar, anxiety, trouble sleeping, hair loss, but don’t know why.

Desiccated Thyroid Medicine

According to STTM, natural desiccated thyroid hormones have been around for over 100 years. They are available by prescription and give patients the T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin our bodies need (not just T4).  The most common brands are Naturthroid, Westhroid, and Erfa (in Canada). Natural desiccated thyroid hormones are made from pig glandular (gross I know!) but they meet the stringent guidelines of the US Pharmacopeia, and have a long proven track record.

My Medicine

Until 2010 I had tried both Naturthroid and Armour. Both worked great for me until they both reformulated! After the reformulations, many people including myself experienced more hypothyroid symptoms and other issues. Largely people seem to have a reaction to the filler used in the new formula.

From 2010 until mid-2013, I had my thyroid medicine custom made through a compound parmacy, so I could control the filler being used. The pharmacy is called Collier’s, located in Fayetteville Arkansas. Anyone can order from Collier’s. It’s very easy. Just ask your doctor to call Rodney at (479) 935-4336. Ask for the “Miss Lizzy Compound” and he can talk with your doctor about the prescription details. It costs about $50/mo, so its definitely more than Armour or Naturethroid but for me it was well worth it.

MEDICINE UPDATE (Jan 2014): Starting mid-2013 I switched to a new dessicated thyroid medicine called “NP Thyroid” by the pharmaceutical company “Acella”. They had some shortages over the summer of 2013 but have had good stock since then. NP Thyroid reminds me of the “old Armour” before it was reformulated. I have done very well on NP Thyroid. It dissolves easily under the tongue — which is great because you can eat and drink immediately before and after taking the medicine. And I have a good reaction to NP Thyroid overall.

I continue to meet women who say they are “getting treated” on T4-only medicines but still experience many hypothyroid symptoms like depression, terrible PMS, weight gain, arthritis, or are going bald. Its so scary! And they have no idea the medicine may not be working for them. If you know someone like this who is taking T4-only medicine and still having problems please share this blog post.




Miss LizzyDesiccated Thyroid Medicine vs. Synthetic T4 only (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothyroxine)

Getting to Yes, with Your Doctor

Whether you are just getting diagnosed as Hypothyroid and want to try a natural desiccated thyroid medicine like Naturthroid, or you’ve been diagnosed and want to switch from a T4-Only medicine like Synthroid or Levoxyl there are ways to talk with your doctor.  Start with then end in mind; the goal is getting to “Yes”.

I have found the easiest way in getting to yes is to approach everything like an experiment. This takes the pressure off everyone, and gives me a chance to learn with the guidance of my doctor. Here is what say:


Hi Doc, Let’s try this experiment and see what happens! If we feel it doesn’t work I am totally open to trying something else.


Finding the right treatment has been a journey for me.  I needed to be able to test and try new things.  So this approach created an open dialogue with my doctor which allowed us both to learn. Success!




Please note: any experiment is at my or your own risk. So be careful, educated and ultimately follow the advice of a doctor you trust.


Miss LizzyGetting to Yes, with Your Doctor

Simple Tips for Starting or Switching Thyroid Medicine

Getting treatment for Hypothyroidism can seem overwhelming and intimidating, so today’s post is about KISS. Keep it simple sweetheart!

Getting to Yes with Your Doctor 
Whether you are just getting diagnosed Hypothyroid, or switching from a T4 medicine like, simply tell your doctor that you want to try natural desiccated thyroid meds as an experiment! That you have heard good things about this type of medicine and want to try it first. But if it doesn’t work you are totally open to trying something else. The goal is getting your doctor to say “yes,” so lowering the pressure makes it easier for them to agree.

Switching Meds May Be an Easy Phone Call
If you are taking a synthetic T4 med like Synthroid switching to a natural desiccated medicine like Naturthroid may be easier than you think.  So save yourself a trip to the doctor.  Instead call up your doctor today and ask them to call in a new prescription to your pharmacy. Do it with a smile in your voice. Ask them to advise on “How much should I take?” rather than “Should I or shouldn’t I switch?”.

If the Labs Say You Aren’t Hypothyroid
If you doctor says “according to the labs you are not hypothyroid”, show them your body temp chart and symptoms checklist and explain that you have most of the symptoms (assuming this is true) and would like to try treatment as an experiment. This takes the pressure off big time. And if it doesn’t work you are totally open to trying something else.  If the doctor still resists just smile, say thanks anyway, and get out of there as fast as you can. Then email me and we will find you someone better.

Even though the journey will be challenging at times, think of yourself as a Georgia Peach. Sweet on the outside with a solid core. You know what’s best for you, and you are taking care of yourself!



Miss LizzySimple Tips for Starting or Switching Thyroid Medicine