Weird Reactions to Thyroid Medicine

Some people have reported odd reactions to many types of thyroid medicine, including shooting pains, burning sensations, heart palpitations (and probably lots more we don’t know about).

I asked the yahoo community and one nice lady wrote back with some great insights.  She experienced very weird symptoms from thyroid medicines that have a microcrystalline cellulose filler which includes the new reformulated armour, synthroid and naturthroid.  Apparently lots of us hypothyroid people have been experiencing similar, bad reactions to the microcrystalline cellulose filler.

It could perhaps be chemically sensitive, or the nature of hypothyroidism, we don’t really know.  The solution for her was ordering a compounded dessicated thyroid with acidophilus as a filler from a compound pharmacy. The doctor has to specify to the pharmacy to use acidophilus as a filler, not cellulose. Also she said make sure to find a reputable compounding pharmacy from the PCAB website.  Getting medicine through a compound pharmacy is really pretty simple.

For all of you who have been struggling with weird reactions to thyroid medicine,  I hope this helps!



Miss LizzyWeird Reactions to Thyroid Medicine


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  • Jennifer - September 22, 2010

    Hey, guys,I am thyroid hormone resistant and therefore require high doses of T3. I also seem to have a problem converting T4 to T3 even at very high doses of T4. Even Armour. I have been taking Cytomel (Brand Name) for about 2.5 years. It runs me about $2,150 per year out-of-pocket for 3 pills at 50 mcg. per day.Anyway, they came out with the generic roughly June, 2008 and I thought GREAT. SAVE $$$, AWESOME. (Not certain of the actual date and I may be way off on when generic actually arrived on the scene.)So I gave it a try for about 2 weeks. I ended up very symptomatic at my usual dose of 150 mcg. daily taking generic. I ended up taking 200 mcg. a day and STILL did not feel near as good as I felt on the Brand Name 150 mcg. So I immediately went back to Brand Name. And really, at the time the price difference for the same number of pills was only about 10%. Not sure if that's true now. By the time the additional pill was added in (at least 4 pills and still not as good as 3 of the Brand Name) I would actually pay more for generic.So, yes, the filler makes all the difference in the world I believe. Google "Problems with Generic (substitute your medication here)" and see what pops up…. What's the big deal with generic and their formula? Is it just not possible for them to use a different base? I feel sorry for all the people who are covered by insurance that will absolutely pay for generic only. Why should they have to pay themselves if they want Brand Name and good results? What am I saying, I am one of those people and the money that I pay per year i breaks down to a payment on a new car at this ongoing rate. But I drive a used car because I live in America and pay my taxes and need expensive medication. I have to buy my own medicine if I want to be productive, pay my taxes, live, work, etc.. sad.

  • Lizzy - September 24, 2010

    Hi Jennifer,This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing. I am very curious about having my own medicine created through a compound pharmacy. I spoke with one recently but have to find out about pricing. But as you say, if the fillers make a difference I am starting to want to have better control over my medicine.The compound pharmacist also told me something interesting (not quoting verbatim) but he said pharmaceutical companies are allowed a 10% margin of error with each batch of pills they produce. Whereas, this particular compound pharmacy said they only have a 3% margin of error A 10% margin of errror seems huge! I was blown away. It certainly explains why some months I feel great on a certain medicine, and other months I don't feel as good. Wild. The prescription expenses are the worst! I agree. Here is some info I found on the Yahoo RT3 Group about assistance with prescriptions.—-If You Already Have InsuranceGlaxo Smith Kline gave 3 sources for free or low cost drugs. These are not well publicized programs, but are legitimate, and are supposed to cover up to 40% of the cost, after insurance, if you have it.If You Don't Have InsuranceI've just gotten the info today and haven't tried them yet, but her instructions to me were to go to the sites, sign up and print out all 3 cards, take them to your pharmacist and see which one gives you the best deal. http://www.freedrugcard.us You Have Insurance but Not Prescription Coveragehttp://www.togetherrxaccess.comI haven't tried these but I think I will!xxooL

  • Jennifer - September 24, 2010

    Lizzy,I just thought of something I remember hearing: The generic thyroid medications use cellulose as a cheap filler. The cellulose makes up the gross majority of the pill.Here is where it gets really interesting…cellulose is a plant cell wall. It is widely known and used as dietary fiber. Also, individuals who are attempting to bind toxins in the small intestine (such as those treating lyme disease [in those cases the toxins are flushed from the liver through the secreted bile and subsequently re-absorbed into the body from the small intestine]). Cellulose is a very well-known binding agent. Everyone who takes thyroid medication knows or should know never to ingest their medication with mineral supplements; most specifically calcium. For those who are not aware of this, alway wait a minimum of two hours. Calcium binds to the hormone and tthen ransports it out of the body. My reasoning holds that if cellulose is a binding agent, why use it to supply the hormone to the body? Is it not possible that there is difficulty with the release from the cellulose?Most of the time I let my thyroid medication disolve under my tongue. Remember I take Cytomel (T3). It tastes sweet and disolves quickly in about 20 minutes. This is very convenient because I spread my dosing throughout the day and if I have eaten I can still take my medication without waiting 2 hours thereby staying on target with my timeline. When I took the generic with the cellulose and attempted to disolve it under my tongue it was like trying to disolve chalk. As an experiment I once held it under my tongue for an hour and it moistened but there was a bulky residue that would absolutely not disolve – weird.You had made reference to noticing variations in the strength of your medication. Most individuals I spoke with have also, including myself. I have even heard that Armour and Thyrolar should be stored in refrigeration. Apparently the molecules degrade easily. I do know that when my pharmacy receives a new batch of Cytomel, I can detect a slightly greater potency. They usually have to order a new supply every 2 months so I never get a really degraded product. I used to go to a Mom & Pop pharmacy and the little Pharmacist kept the A/C on about 80 degrees during the day to save money. The first and only summer I used this pharmacy it was July and I noticed my Cytomel was seeming gradually weaker and weaker every time I had it refilled. The pharmacy was open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. M-F. Then it dawned on me that they were most likely shutting the air off when they left in the evening and it was still 100 degrees outside at 6 in the evening. He argued and argued with me about it (No, No, No, that won't hurt it. lol). Lots of stories, but there you go. :)Jenn

  • iodinesupplementsthyroid - September 30, 2011

    hi everyone, I'm JoasiaI was taking iodine supplements thyroid upon arising with a full glass of water each morning. After 3 weeks of using it,I did not feel any fatigue.

  • Dianne - February 12, 2014

    Hi, I just found your comments about cellulose in thyroid hormone. I have an allergy to cellulose, and I'm seriously considering getting my hormone through a Compound Pharmacist. I actually did try it when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's but they used cellulose as the filler, and I had a bad reaction. I'd like to know more about using acidophilus as a filler. How do you receive your medication – not in a cellulose capsule, obviously? I also take mine under the tongue, so I'm just wondering how you would do this – I'm trying to picture what form it would be in. Hopefully I've made my question understandable. : P Thanks for any info you can give me.

  • Lizzy - February 25, 2014

    Hi Dianne, I'm sorry for the slow reply! Yes your questions make perfect sense. The prescription for desiccated thyroid from the compound pharmacy comes in the form of a little square which they flavor with a little sweetener (stevia I believe). Its is soft, like a little lozenge and dissolves under the tongue quickly.Also, recently I switched my prescription to new desiccated thyroid medicine called NP Thyroid by Acella, I am able to buy it at my local Pharmacy (Target) and it's less than $10 (without a copay!). It is similar to the old Armour, so I suspect it does not have cellulose, though I should confirm this to be sure. But my body does very well on NP Thyroid (same as the old armor) so I suspect it is good. Much love!Lizzy

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