The Armour Thyroid Fiasco and The Run Around of Getting the Appropriate Replacement Natural Dessicated Thyroid Medication

Dear Readers, Since we first published our post regarding how Armour Thyroid Medication was reformulated we’ve received hundreds if not thousands of emails and requests for updates from those of you out there who are in a similar situation. I can totally empathize  with everyone who has wasted time, money, and precious energy on trying to come up with a replacement medication. And even though I have been perfectly happy with my change to Nature-Throid, my supplies were dwindling and the promised shipment dates of the middle to late November by RLC labs, are now looking like it may be December before it is available, and I wanted to make sure that I don’t run out of the medication that I must take every day for the rest of my life, because my thyroid was removed several years ago.

What perhaps is the most frustrating thing about this scenario, is that my doctor, who had no issue with writing a prescription for Armour Thyroid and then replacing it with Nature-Throid, simply doesn’t seem to understand that I must find a replacement for my natural desiccated thyroid medication and I will not, under any circumstances go back to using Synthroid. Here is a summary of what has transpired thus far on my quest to get my doctor’s office to write the correct prescription for me.

doctorswhodontlisten thumb Doctors Who Don’t Listen: What Part About This Medication Doesn’t Work For Me Do You Not Understand? “Dear Doctor”, what part about “This Medication Does Not work for me” do you not understand? Please do not disregard my ability to tell what works for me nor discount my intelligence by thinking that your version of a synthetic medication will work just fine for me. We’ve already been down that road before, and it was a long one.  I was the one who had to find out that I had the thyroid problem to begin with, because for years, the proper testing was not done and I watched in horror as my ability to function declined.  I traveled to many doctors during this time with a list of symptoms that would have made any learned diagnostician proud, but I was not listened to, and treated with disrespect at many a turn. From the rude and dismissive Nurse Practitioner in the Endocrinology Clinic at MD Anderson who gave me a cursory exam and proclaimed that my “thyroid was fine” to the many internists who sent me to the wrong kinds of specialists, or who simply threw up their hands and told me that gaining inordinate amounts of weight, losing my hair, feeling like my body was run over by a truck, not being able to walk around the block, much less run for over an hour like I used to be able to do easily, was part of “getting older” and I should just deal with it.  At first, I thought so many doctors not being able to find anything must have meant that I should “deal with it”. I mean distance runners don’t complain you know? You just keep going, even when you think you can’t go another step, you keep going. So I did, but I also knew something was very wrong, especially when my ability to function declined so far that I could barely go to the grocery store without having to sit down and rest.  And when I showed up at the Mayo Clinic with my self proclaimed diagnosis in hand and asked the doctors there to confirm it, at first I was met with a “yeah, right” attitude, but after testing and finally a thyroid surgery, my suspicions were confirmed, and after a long period of trial and error with thyroid medication, had finally found my rhythm back after dumping Synthroid and getting on Armour Thyroid. Fast forward to Armour’s reformulation and switching to Nature-Throid, and finally getting that dosage adjusted. So if you are going to be my physician you’re just going to have to accept that I have a really good handle on what works for me and what doesn’t. And I finally trust myself enough to know that it is my body and I do know what is helpful and what is not.

I have called my doctor’s office and asked them to write me a prescription for “Thyroid” simply, “Thyroid” because that is the way it needs to be written in order for me to get my prescription filled in Canada. And I’ve also asked my physician’s office to write the prescription in grains not milligrams, so that I have some flexibility in re-filling the prescription with any natural desiccated thyroid that is available and not a particular brand, once this shortage clears up.   The response to my very specific request from my physician’s office was to have a prescription faxed to me for levothyroxine which is the synthetic version of a Thyroid Medication called Synthroid, which has never worked for me, and my physician knows it doesn’t work for me, and I will never take this medication ever again.  Thinking it must be a mistake, I called my doctor’s office and told them that I had received the “wrong” prescription, and that I was faxing them the specific information on how my prescription must be written so that I could get the Natural Dessicated Thyroid Hormone from Canada.  My fax outlined exactly how the prescription needs to be written so that I can get an appropriate replacement medication from Canada, and provides the reason/s which my physicians office is already aware of because they have other thyroid patients, for my needing to order thyroid medication from Canada. Several days later, I receive a call from my local pharmacy saying my prescription was ready. I called the local pharmacy back, because I hadn’t placed an order with them for any medication (they don’t carry what I need now) and low and behold, the prescription waiting for me  was for levothyroxine, or Synthroid. UGGGGH……     Did the physician’s office think I wasn’t going to check the prescription, or worse yet, that I don’t know what levothyroxine is? Good grief, I know everyone is busy these days with the swine flu going around and the shortage of natural thyroid hormone adding to the workload of everyone, but this is ridiculous, that it is so difficult to get the proper prescription written. Luckily, I am very knowledgeable about my body and what types of thyroid medications work for me, but there are others who are not, and who rely on whatever their physician writes down and then simply take it. Tomorrow, I will call the office again and see what the issue is with getting a proper prescription written. It is indeed an ongoing struggle to advocate for oneself in a system that is sometimes very unhealthy itself. But the payoff is worth it. Getting my thyroid issue under control has given me a new lease on life. I know it’s an ongoing battle, like now just trying to get the proper prescription, but I’m not stopping and I won’t settle for less than optimal treatment any more.  And I just completed the Susan Komen Race for the Cure this past Sunday in Austin, Texas. It felt amazing to run the 3.1 miles at a good pace and come through the finish line strong and with energy. And even though this was a short race it was fabulous to see all the pink shirts, the zest  of the participants  and to have a reason to run. I want to thank all the volunteers who gave of their time and who stood out on a Sunday morning and cheered for all of the runners and later the walkers who walked the course. Do you know how terrific it felt to cross the finish line and have all kinds of people clapping and cheering?  I  ran for not only all of the brave breast cancer survivors but for those who were not there and could not be there to run for themselves. I ran for all the women and men who are dismissed by their physicians or who are told that feeling poorly is simply part of the aging process. I think not!  I ran because I could run this year, and that was an accomplishment in and of itself.