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EndocrineWeb Community Advice

Armour Thyroid vs Synthroid

From: rbmorgan - 8 years 7 weeks ago

I am currently a user of synthroid. My sister, who is a health nut, keeps insisting that I get my doctor to prescribe armour thyroid, because its natural, I don't see how dried pig thyroids are natural, but I aksed my doctor about it and he would not so much as talk to me about it. Anybody out there on Armour thyroid?? Does it work better??? ect. any feedback.

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I just joined this group and was wondering if you still had the thyroid problems.
The endo you were seeing was lacking in knowledge and bedside manner! All my lab numbers were normal but I had a small lump near my Adam's apple. a fine needle biopsy was done and it came back positive for Papillary thyroid cancer. I'm hoping you haven't had to go this route, but wanted you to know the facts.

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I am 5 years post TT. Papillary. I've been on synthroid the whole time. I've had shortness of breath, brain fog, occasional heart palpatations, weight gain that won't go away. I asked my endo if we could add Cytomel (lithyronine) to my meds, and he agreed. Within a couple days I felt better. The shortness of breath, brain fog, were no longer a problem, the heart palps, barely noticeable.
I am on 112 of Synthroid and 5 mcg of Cytomel. I am going to ask for a change now that I am 5 years out. I want to feel more normal, with both physical and mental energy. I belong to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors Group on Facebook, It has been a tremendous source of advice and support. I wish you well..it is a long road we are traveling.

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I have been on Armour for 5 years and felt great, no issues with my periods/pregnancy...recently 6 months back my doc switched me to Synthroid saying that Armour is a crude way of treating Thyroid, since then I am having all sort of issues...irregular periods, hystectomy D&C (for polyp), chest pain, mid cycle periods, infertitlity, hair loss, weight loss...I am not sure what's going on as my test results look normal. I am too tired of it and I am going back to Armour now...it's really hard to find a doc who prescribes/treats Armour...

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WOW, I have been researching armor versus synthroid and really can't find anything positive for synthroid but yet I can't find a Dr. That will perscribe Armor :( I have Hashimots along with other health issues. I CAN NOT take SYNTHETIC thyroid meds! They make me crazy, anxious, foggy, dizzy etc. so I've been off meds for about 3 yrs. I am getting to the point where I have to take something but as good as my Drs. Are none will give me armor :( what do I do? Is Armor available again? I read that people couldn't get it :/ Help I'm afraid to try synthroid or any like it, don't want to go through hell again, like so many I've read about. We need to do something about this. Is there a Dr. Anywhere out there that isn't doing this for the money and to honestly help his or he patient?

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I had one side of my thyroid removed about 8 years ago. My Dr. put me on synthroid. Have been on every dose from 75mg to 112mg. Gained a ton of weight over the years and have recently just not felt any better. I had asked my doctor a few years ago about Armour thyroid and he said absolutely no way would he prescribe it for me. He said it was too dangerous. I heard it had been taken off the market until recently. I asked him again and got the same response. NO!! Went to see another doctor who deals with hormones and she said that blood tests are not the best way to see your T3 & T4 levels. She had me do a saliva test plus a blood test and found that my T3 was very low. She did put me on Armour. I have been on it for about a week and so far I have felt fine. I get another test in 2 weeks to see how my levels have gone up or down. Just find a doctor that will listen to you!!!

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I have suffered from Thyroid issue last 2 years ago. It was really a tough time for me to to get recover from it. I was taking a many medicines and many other activities. The recovering from it was quite difficult for me. Some of my friends and doctors suggested me to take spice incense and herbal medicines on it and after taking this, I found a speedy recovery from thyroid problem and after 2 years later I am about 80% recover from it.

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Thyroid symptoms in women are more common than they are in men. Lucky us! Millions of women across the world suffer from some sort of thyroid dysfunction and many of them are unaware that their symptoms are thyroid related.

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I'm sympathetic to you... I had the RAI and have been on Synthroid almost 3 years. I've been up to 125mcg for a dosage, which was too high and thought I was going to die, yet my numbers were "normal". I am on my 3rd endocrinologist. The latest one has done a number of blood tests and found I was anemic and some of my other RBC counts were off and my sugar was high. I personally think the messing around with thyroid dosages has totally made my body to go whacko. I get a lot of muscle fatigue, which makes sense if I'm anemic, but this has been on-going even when I didn't show to be anemic. I totally agree with your reasoning why you don't take Armour. That's the exact reason I haven't pushed it and tried to get a dr to prescribe it. Good luck!!

sickofthyroid

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For everyone who has been denied the medication called Armor Thyroid, may I suggest that you contact your local congressmen and senators to voice your concern and displeasure. Give as much info as possible regarding how much Armor has helped you previously. No one will care or do anything to help if they don't know how you feel about the issue. This all comes down to money. Follow the $ to understand why this medication has been removed. Call your representatives and demand action. They are supposed o be working for us.

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I am a healthnut like your sister. I went to one of the spendy logical clinics, got the blood n saliva tests done & explained. I already began OTC progesterone. Upped my d3, etc. There I found I had adrenal fatigue which complicates things. I used the orthomolecular product for awhile, then found a reasonable counterpart otc. I heard about armour. Too many times. I'm trying an OTC from a poster here. It's on it's way. I have a close friend w Hashi's, who's been terrorized by her endo. She suffers endlessly on synthroid. My dad was on it yrs, then taken off. I REFUSE to go thru what they did. Sick of losing hair. Fingers crossed. I'll update. Tests can be done w/o a Dr.'s orders. ZRT has em, also life extension. Any1 can find their d levels, hormone levels, etc. I really wanna know what the HECK is the aversion to armour? Is it really BigPharma propaganda?

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I have been on Armour for 12 years. For many years it worked fine. During the shutdown years 2008-2010 when we could not get it, my doc switched me to Cytomel. Then I got breast cancer. I went back to Armour when it became available again. All of my docs hate Armour and all give me a lecture about taking it. My new endo described it to me best. The thryoid needs both T3 and T4. Armour provides both. The body takes T4 and converts it to T3. Synthroid is T4 only. A few months ago I began having issues and one doc suggested I slowly ramp up the Armour (thought I needed more) and she gave me a ramp up plan. The very first night I was flying, heart racing, running around the house with boundless energy unable to sleep. So that showed I cannot handle more Armour. But why? I think the new doc may have hit on something and he suggested Synthroid instead. Since Armour gives both T3 and T4, and the body converts the T4 into T3, he suspects I am getting too much T3. But since Armour comes from pig hormone, how much am I really getting? He says there isn't really a way to tell. It might explain why I couldn't increase the Armour, way too much T3 for me. And might explain my current issues I am having. I am going to switch for one month and see how it goes. If things clear up for me, then he might be right. T3 too unregulated with Armour and I might be getting too much. There's now way to regulate just the T3 with Armour since it contains both. My trusted friend Armour might have run its course. We will see. I think the fact that you can't regulate the dosing of just one part of it, and the fact that it is pig hormone, lots of docs don't like it. So they tell me, there aren't any "studies" on it and many docs like to have data that comes from studies. But Armour isn't mainstream and apparently isn't "studied". It's a big unknown so it's scares many doctors. I've taken it for 12 years but also got cancer, so is it a good drug? Jury is out.

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I to had RAI and was put on Synthroid. I've had a horrible time with fatigue, muscle aches and joint pain not to mention weight gain :-(

Of course, all my labs are normal but I have finally convinced my family doctor to prescribe dessicated thryoid. Before he will make the switch I have to meet with my endocronoligst first.

Are you still on the synthriod?

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Hi all:

I have been on brand name only Synthroid for years. Now I have a doctor at an alternative facility and have changed to Armour. I just started. I have found out that Armour was used all the time before the pharmaceuticals came out with Synthroid and their generic. Of course, doctors will push the synthetic because of the pharmaceuticals. When I purchased Arrmour it was only $4.98 and that was for brand name!! I don't even know what their generic costs. But when I was buying Synthroid brand name, I was paying $22.00. Go figure! That certainly is par for the course. Yes, conventional doctor's don't even prescribe Armour. We never know about it until one uses an alternative doctor. And it's not right. Because Armour is a prescription and we should have choices.

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Always get copies of your lab work. I do. Check it for yourself. Sometimes, doctor's let things go when they are borderline. When it comes to thyroid, borderline needs to be watched.

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I'm 44 years old now. The idiot doctor at the clinic (had no insurance) told me I was eating too much. Next time I saw her, I gained weight and she asked me what I ate the previous day. The amount of food that I was eating was not a lot at all. Two meals a day. A sandwich for lunch would be one slice of bologna and one slice of cheese on white bread. Dinner not much more than that. The amount of food I was eating I should be a super model, ok?

I started taking Levothyroxin-not sure when, maybe at 37 years old. They started me at 25mcg then 50, 75, 100. This was over the course of 3 years. My thyroid swelled up BAD. I went to a specialist and that idiot said he was going to UP the medication, I said like hell!! I stopped taking thyroid medications about 3 years ago. My highest weight was 370 lbs--even on the medication. The side effects were horrendous with that. I had NIGHTMARES and only managed to sleep about 4 hours at night. Racing heart, anxiety attacks (which I never had in my life), leg swelling to ridiculous levels, hair loss, I mean I can go on. It got ugly. I also am anemic and I never was before all this crap started. I take iron occasionally (period) because I feel the level getting low by the leg pain I get. I take it only so often because the side effects, my stomach hurts, I get diarhrea-opposite of the constipation they promised. I do not know if this product will work for me if my iron is constantly low which it IS and has BEEN for the last few years.

I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I have pain all the time. I also have spinal problems (Scoliosis, herniated disks) which causes my pelvis to go out of alignment on occasion. I ask God to take me in my sleep because it's just so painful. Pain meds do nothing but make me nauseous and depressed more. I am seeing a therapist. I woke up the other day and mentioned the horrible leg cramp I got and they mentioned this FB page and it mentioned armor for people with thyroid problem and here I am.

Thank you all for the pros and cons about this. I am seeing a new doctor who specializes in orthopedics and I will bring this product up to her at that meeting. I wish you all the very best life you can have. <3

P.S. Since I stopped taking the meds, I can sleep better. I started taking nutritional shake dietary supplements from a company my friend works for. I lost over 50 pounds and do feel less pain but it's not gone. Last check it was 317. I am planning on trying to walk more, my legs and back hurt tremendously but now that spring is here, I hope to get out and walk around and lose even more weight! If I could get rid of this nerve pain, I would be so happy!!

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Hello everybody, I thought I would add to the discussion and try and give a few updates as things progress. I have been on Synthroid and
Levorothyoxin for over 30 years and not one doctor would agree to letting me try Armour. I have had doctors tell me that my slow progression of weight gain was due to the fact that I ate too much, didn't exercise enough and most recently that I was suffering the effects of menopause and to just accept it!!! Doctors can be Jerks and I have fired many over the years. I am big on natural healing so over the years I have educated myself on ways to compensate my problem with the right foods and herbs that has helped somewhat, but the fatigue and weight gain remained a constant. Well, long story short; I have a new female doctor who also has this same problem and she really took the time to listen to me and advise what she felt that would aid me in my challenges along with agreeing to let me try ARMOUR....God Bless Dr. Vale! This is day one and I am going to follow her suggestions along with the new med and hope for a better world. I will let you know how things proceed and hope that I can be of help to others that have had to fight this battle. New diet and walking a couple times a day and Armour....We shall see what will come. God Bless and Good Health to All who suffer in silence....Speak up and be heard until a doctor comes along and listens!

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Hello rollerkat...I just read your post and I HOPE YOU get this reply...I have Hashimoto's, I have been on Armour Thyroid for 2 years and before that I was dying from side effects of Synthroid and USELESS WRONG TSH levels. However, the ONLY doctor in this part of FL (Nature Coast) who would prescribe Armour "AND" use symptom elimination to help me, has suddenly decided to just leave!! She left no forwarding information for her patients and no I am nearing the end of my last refil of Armour and I have NO doctor to renew my scripts/?? I am SOOO scared, I don't know where to turn, I read people go to out of pocket dr's but that is not at all possible for me. I have to have Armour, and following TSH levels for me caused my hair to fall out, and a 7 week weight gain of 40 lbs!! I can't go back to living without Armour, you sharing the OTC option literally saved me, I will look up the fruitfulyeild as soon as I finish this, please add anymore places we may find this OTC option, and THANK YOU so much for sharing this info with all of us, I cannot thank you enough!!! THANK YOU!!! God Bless!

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I was diagnosed with hiperthyroidsm 16 years ago. I was prescribed syntroid...the famous Syntroid. I swealled up, face, stomach, hands, I felt terrible. The doctor could't believe it was the syntroid. He insisted it was in my head!!! He even called me Fat!, I stop taking the syntroid for good. (They gave me radioactive iodine) therefore, I didn't have thyroid. He sent me a letter statating I was about to die in two weeks. So I was waiting to die. My son look up the internet and did his job: he found Armour Thyroid. It was a miracle! of course I went to my family doctor. He told me this was an old pill. It has been 16 years taking Armour. to the lady that can;t find it go to the pharmacies in the grocery store. I went to different CVS's until the pharmaceutical started making it again.
The doctors receive "compensations" from the makers of syntroid and so many medicines. They don't want to prescribe the natural staff...how could it be? they lose money.

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Yes! Armour thyroid is still there. I take it every day. The insurance don't pay. I pay myself!! and I am very happy doing it.

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Armour thyroid medicine literally saved my life when the synthetic was effectively killing me... NO JOKE. It's a long story that no one wants to hear I'm sure, but I also have a heart condition. I had been using a synthetic thyroid medicine for years. My heart races were getting uncontrollable [faster and longer in duration], my hair was falling out, my face was breaking out in acne [I'm 50 yrs old], and my condition was seriously threatening my job. I ended up in the hospital. The heart doctors and the endocrinologists contradicted each other my entire stay at the hospital. I researched natural thyroid medicine on the internet, and I found a doctor that helped me get off the synthetic thyroid and off the heart medicine. Now I'm on Armour thyroid, and after 1 year on Armour, I can tell you that I've never felt better in my entire life.

It's a real crime that the synthetic thyroid medicines are even allowed to be marketed - much less, monopolize the market. But that is in fact what has happened.

If your thyroid condition is affecting your heart, please switch to a natural thyroid medicine like Armour ASAP!!! It may save your life. I seriously regret all those years that I suffered on a synthetic thyroid medicine. I don't suffer anymore now that I'm on Armour.

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Hi ı wanna use nutripak could you please tell me ıs ıt enough for a person who doesnt have a tyroid? Mine has removed one year ago and ı want to use nutrıpak thyroid

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I had my thyroid removed in 2008. The endocrinologist put me on Synthroid. He said I had to have the name brand and refused to put me on generic. He had me go to his office every 3 months for blood work. This is a very large office and they have their own labs. I've never really felt all that fantastic since my thyroid was removed but I know it needed to go. It was huge and it was bothering me every time I bent down to look at something it felt like someone was choking me. Well, I lost my job and I don't have insurance at my new job and the doctors office now treats me like I'm some low life loser. As soon as I told them I didn't have insurance anymore they stopped being friendly. They wouldn't even smile or make eye contact with me. They know I need Synthroid but they won't prescribe it unless I get all these tests done every three months. These office visits at this specialists office are very expensive and I can't afford it or the name brand pills. I've been searching for a substitute for Synthroid. I've found Raw Thyroid from Natural Sources at the Vitamin Shoppe. It's bovine thyroid. Does anyone know anything about this product? I bought a bottle and I just took my first one. I was on Synthroid 137 mcg. Raw Thyroid is 390 mg.

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Hi, I was doing some research for my wife's thyroid issue and came across your post - please check outwww.thedoctorwithin.com I just found it myself and the information is staggering. My wife just started on Armour and I am anxious to see the results. After having read the feedback/testimonials and all the information on this website and then happening to come across your post regarding medical issues I felt compelled to send you this website. I have not tried anything from this site yet mostly due to lack of funds but I hopefully will be able to very soon. I hope this helps!

Edit - I originally meant this post for user "Al" but now realize the above info may help others as well

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My dr just took me off of my Synthroid which I have been on since I was 15 and I am now 52. She wants me to take Armour which I have never heard of before. She said it was because my TSH3 was to high. I am very nervous about this as I do not know anything about Armour and I have been on Synthroid for so long and i know it does what it is suppose to do. Has anyone ever taken the Armour before and if so did it work or does it do better then the Synthroid? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated..

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I have been taking synthroid for forty years or so after taking radioactive iodine. I am a quadruple bypass person, exercising daily and in good shape, with three additional stents, stable angina, and significant anxiety regarding my heart function. Recently--with Obamacare!--the price of my synthroid doubled so I investigated my options and asked my doc if I could try Armour. I have been taking it about a month, and I feel very different. After some adjustments that involved a little more anxiety (as measured by heartbeat) and when to take the pill, I am finding that I have much more energy. My workout today flew. My legs usually feel so heavy on the treadmill, but today not. And not just at the gym. My mental sharpness seems improved. I watched a Bulls game with great concentration for at least a half an hour (my usual record is a half an hour with minimal attention!), and talked to my son about it. I did not feel too exhausted to do so. My legs and arms feel lighter. I believe I could easily say these improvement have been evident all week, but I've had a cold all week, and today is the first day I've been up and about. I feel great! It is the Armour. I'm taking five different medications, and have to be observant about my symptoms. This is a pronounced positive difference. I don't know the chemistry, but I am grateful for the effect.

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I have been on Synthroid for 15 years. No complaints. I tried armo and could not get the dose right. I also tried the generic levo, just to learn that hormones are measured in micrograms (as opposed to milligrams in which most other medications are measured, that is 1000 times smaller quantities than average), thus quality control plays an important role in the real dose present on the pill. With generics, I could not get the dose right... it would change every few months, most likely because there is no single factory for generics; instead, pharmacies get their supplies form a diverse array of vendors, all of which might have different quality control procedures, and hence different real doses. Many people rave about the pig version being natural, without realizing that its correct dosage is hard to secure, and that variability is rather large. Uranium is natural also, but that does not mean it is good for you.

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I normally do not post on these forums but comments like this hit a bone when I read them. First off, I am a physician which is probably why I get so offended when I see comments like this. Perks? If a free lunch is a perk then your are absolutely right. As for anything more, you are completely wrong. I am not allowed to recieve anything from these drug companies. Not even a pen. And if you think that abbott laboratories has been out over the last 15 years perking docs to prescribe synthroid, again you are completely wrong. Synthroid is generic and the manufacturer can care less if it is sold anymore. So yes, the lunches are yummy and can easily persuade or disuade my more than 10 years post college training in making medical decisions. In medicine you are what we call...a putz.

As for the reason behind this "corupt" Dr's decision to prescribe synthroid over armour thyroid, it is because standard replacement therapy is T4 (which synthroid is). T4 is converted to T3 (the active thyroid hormone) in peripheral tissue. 80% of T3 accounts due to this conversion. Synthroid (T4) has a 7 day half life in plasma (which means it sticks around for a while). This leads to a steady conversion of T3 in the blood, which is a good thing once a therapuetic dose is achieved. Armour Thyroid is a mixture of porcine T3 (the active hormone) and T4. One might think that this would just shortcut the whole conversion process and be better. Well this is not true. T3 is rapidly absorbed in the GI tract and has a relatively short half life (1 day) in circulation. This leads to wide fluctuations in the active thyroid hormone during the day. Hence, NOT RECOMMENDED!
Now maybe this endocrinologist should have explained this to the patient. Probably yes. But maybe he had another 30 patients to see in the next 5 hours and expected the patient to trust his judgement as a board certified physician and didnt have the time to say more than "Synthroid is standard therapy". Or maybe he was late for the next drug rep lunch, which they are now able to publish to the public.

And as for the "tried and true", you are right sometimes the oldies are best (metformin, amoxicillin, metoprolol). But maybe someimes they are not. They used to lop your leg off without anesthesia for infections during the civil war. It was tried and true back then. Many oldie meds have been pulled from the market due to side effects and replaced by newer, better ones.

I am not saying armour thyroid does not have its place in medicine, but if you think that thyroid hormone is something to be experimented with by suboptimal treatments, then by all means go ahead. Myxedema comas, and thyroid storms are a great way to "demand" treatment.

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Dear FPDoc
While I appreciate your feedback from a "physician" perspective, please understand, most endo's do not listen nor care. I am post RAI 11 years.... with all of the suboptimal care i have received, no matter what I have shared with my doctor, all he can say is "you are crazy.. it's all in your head". Unless you live in a body without a thyroid and only receiving 1 of the 5 hormones produced you could not understand. Not to mention, not all of us are capable of converting T4 to T3 properly after surgery/RAI. As you stated most of the conversion occurs in the tissue/livef/kidney's etc.. but T4 only users often struggle converting. I for one cannot get my FT3 above 2.8 (the range being 2.0 - 4.2) Not exactly what I would call optimal treatment.. would you? Especially when multiple studies from the AACE and abstracts from PubMed clearly state T3 is need for the heart and other organs. So what then should we do? Who do we talk to. I work in research/pharma and know all too well how the hamster wheel works for food/drugs/doctors... you are correct we no longer are even allowed to give physicians a pen... but there is always "something" always incentive... keep thyroid pts or any pt "just" treated (not adequately or optimally) but "just"... and guess what.....you have a patient for life.. INCOME.. not to mention, they are in the system for life, because you and I both know eventually without optimal treatment of the thyroid, other things begin to break down... thus leading us to see other doctors and the need for other medications throughout life.
King Regards

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Dear FPDoc,
I appreciate your comments. I have worked for physicians for many years. I was treated with RAI for Graves years ago and have been consistently on Synthroid which has fluctuated dosage wise over the years. Most physicians share your view. I have been on antidepressants since 1987 for anxiety and depression. I recently was switched to Armour Thyroid (about 2 months ago), not by my endocrinologist but by a physician I used to work for. I am now seeing an M.D. Who has a more holistic approach. She stated that when she was in medical school the only treatment for hypothyroid was synthetic replacement. Every doctor I have been to previously believes as you do. However, long story short, going off of symptoms, I have never felt better than I currently do now on Armour. My moods are stable, I feel happier than ever, and general well being has increased significantly. I feel good for the first time since RAI which pretty much obliterated my thyroid. I know all of the reasons why physicians prefer synthetic thyroid over dessicated, however, would you agree that if a patient has a better quality of life on Armour that there might be something to the argument for it? I realize that it is not the treatment of choice for all, but there are many of us who have found relief from multi symptoms. Thank you so much!

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please understand, I am all for treating the patient as a whole and if something works well then I would never change it unless the risks outweigh the benefits. So if armour is working and your labs are stable then by all means stick with the stuff that works.
in my previous post I was responding to some of the posts in the forum that are accusing physicians of having incentive for sticking with synthroid. I myself do like to explain to patients and talk out treatment plans but have the time to do it, and many specialists fo not. This does not mean that they are benefiting by suggesting you stay on synthroid. In fact it just means that they are following standard of care for this disease.
As for the previous post about benefiting by keeping you as a patient, that is offensive. regardless of the choice in medication, you should be following up with a physician for hypothyroidism. Yes it is true that we will bill your insurance or you for an appointment. But, have you ever had your mechanic change your oil or fix your transmission and expected it for free? My point is, this is what we do for work and for income. if working for money is incentive then yes we are all guilty.

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