Armour Thyroid: A Patient’s Story – What Happened When Forest Labs Changed Armour Thyroid

PART I: My Thyroid History and Background

It had taken a better part of two years to get to the bottom of my thyroid issues. I had been told for so long that there “was nothing wrong with my thyroid” that I almost started believing it myself. But deep down inside, I knew that there was something very wrong. And whatever it was, it wasn’t getting better, but worse. To make a long story short, I ended up in an operating room, far from home, after finally, getting a doctor to admit that not only was their a problem with my thyroid, but it needed to be removed because it was dangerously large. Fast forward to after the operation.


At first, of course, I was prescribed the synthetic medication Synthroid. Almost all doctors do, especially those associated with major medical centers. After a while on the Synthroid, when I found myself with raging headaches, bloating, and a face that looked unusually swollen, I decided to take matters into my own hands and I asked my primary care practitioner to change me over to Armour Thyroid. Trouble was, my primary care doctor thought she knew better, and refused to switch anything with my medication as she thought the Synthetic thyroid medication called Synthroid, and touted by most all the endocrinologists, would be just fine for me. I’m usually a very calm and kind person, with a very slow fuse, who will give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but after my 2 year journey of being misdiagnosed or just plain undiagnosed at all, my patience was a little thin, and I heard myself tell my doctor that I didn’t care what everyone else was prescribing or even if she thought the synthetic Synthroid was better. The one thing I knew for sure after two years of being tossed about and patronized by the medical professionals I had placed my trust in, was that I understood my body better than anyone, and I knew that Synthroid was not working for me and I needed to try something else. I then said that it may not matter to her, but it mattered a great deal to me, and if she wasn’t going to help me find an alternative, I would find someone else who would.

That was the last time I saw that primary care doctor. I found another physician who was more than willing for me to try Armour, and after a few days on the new medication, I was feeling like I was on the road to recovery. Several months passed and there were several medication adjustments, and I learned how to fine tune my thyroid dosage by paying attention to how I felt along with charting my body temperatures, and keeping an eye on my lab work. Note: Although the most important part of getting my thyroid medication regulated was finally having the courage to pay attention more to “how I felt” rather than “what the lab work said”. I learned that there is a big difference between my labs being within normal range, and “being optimized for me” . After two years had passed, on an Armour Thyroid dose that was optimized for my body, I was finally feeling “normal” and had my previous energy back along with the zest for living and enjoying each day to the fullest. The muscle aches had vanished. Where before every muscle in my body had felt like I had been run over by a truck, now there was no pain. Exercising had become a joy again and no longer did I take a shower to find large clumps of hair left behind, or on my car seat when I drove. My face lost it’s roundness, and I dropped the weight that had crept on like an unwanted guest during my previous thyroid struggles. So everything had reached a place where I felt healthy and vibrant, and full of life. Until the time came when I placed a refill order with a new pharmacy. A mail-order pharmacy. You see, my insurance company used to reimburse the cost of a three month prescription refill only if one went through their mail order pharmacy. So I had my Armour prescription transferred to the mail order pharmacy and began taking the new tablets when they came in. After a few days I noticed that I was beginning to feel swollen and bloated again. And my energy started dipping. I spoke to some friends and told them that I thought perhaps I had “received a bad batch of medication”. Maybe the medication was left in the heat too long during transport or maybe the mail order pharmacy didn’t fill the prescription correctly. I didn’t know what was the issue, but I was certain that the medicine that I had relied on to bring me back from the depths of such deep tiredness that it was almost too much to stand up, wasn’t working.

So, I went back to my local pharmacy and asked them if I could change/transfer the remaining refills on my prescription and paid for another batch of Armour Thyroid. Apparently, my local pharmacy must have still had the “old” stock on hand because I very quickly felt better and made up my mind not to use the mail order pharmacy again.

When my medication ran out, I was back to refill my prescription. But this time when my tiredness and muscle pain returned I was thinking that perhaps I had just been working too many hours, or it was the summer heat taking a toll on my body. Maybe I had been exercising too much and needed to reduce the intensity. Even after everything I had experienced how quickly and easily it is sometimes to revert back to trying to come up with alternative reasons why we may not be feeling up to par. I never dreamed that there would be something that had changed in the prescription that had become so important to my daily life. I had no idea that the Armour had been reformulated and for whatever reason, my previous symptoms were starting to return.

In the next installment, I’ll share with you how I found out that Forest Labs had changed the formulation of Armour Thyroid Medication and I’ll share with you what I did about it. Stay tuned for more information about my thyroid journey back to health and how I hope by sharing my story, that it will help others who may be wondering about Armour Thyroid or struggling with health issues that have yet to be properly diagnosed or acknowledged.