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Pharmacy and Medications

Levothyroxine AND Armour

06/27/2011

Question:

I recently had my thyroid removed and am now on Levothyroxine. According to my doctor, my levels are within the range but I`m still feeling tired, along with other symptoms. She suggested also putting me on Armour to help increase the T3 and T4 in my body. Is this correct?

Answer:

There are different types of thyroid replacements available in the U.S. market, each containing various amounts of T4, T3, or a combination of both. Levothyroxine contains T4, which is changed by the body to T3.  In general, T4 is the preferred form of thyroid hormone. It stays in the body for a long time, and the body is able to convert it to T3 at its normal biological rate. The Armour thyroid preparation contains both T4 and T3 in an approximate amount of 38mcg T4 and 9 mcg T3 per each 60mg tablet.

As mentioned above, the T4 is converted to T3, which is the active form. Because the T3 form that is contained in the Armour preparation does not stay in the body as long, the levels tend to fluctuate a little more than with a T4 product like levothyroxine.
However, it may be that having that initial amount of T3 available helps with your symptoms. If your physician decided to have you start the Armour preparation, it would be in place of the levothyroxine preparation.

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Response by:

Michael  Ganio, PharmD Michael Ganio, PharmD
Clinical Applications Pharmacist
Wexner Medical Center
The Ohio State University