Though guidelines suggest screening starts at 50, researcher says it's premature to change them
by thycaseattle on Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:00 AM
M Endo gave prescription for Levothyroxine instead of Synthroid. Should i ask my Endo to change to Synthroid or Levothyroxine is ok?
by trehouse60 on Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:00 AM
You most likely will be quite safe with the levothyroxine because it and Synthroid are both the same drug. (Synthroid is a brand name for the drug, levothyroxine is the generic name. What that means in layman's terms is that while Synthroid may have very specific inactive ingredients added to the formula by the pharmaceutical company that produces it, the active ingredient - the actual drug - is levothyroxine. When it is sold as levothyroxine alone, that is what you are getting - the active ingredient and just very basic minimal binding agents that are no longer under patent and therefore can be sold much more inexpensively than brand name drugs.)
The important thing about switching from the brand name drug to the generic is to make sure to get a good quality generic. Because the drug is no longer under patent - many different companies can now produce the drug quite cheaply, and unfortunately for consumers, not ALL companies are scrupulous about making sure they provide adequate amounts of the drug to equal the prescribed dosage.
The very best way to make sure you are getting a full strength generic drug is to ask the pharmacist if he uses discount drugs to fill thyroid prescriptions. If he says, yes, you might do well to find a different pharmacy. Many of the older pharmacists in the smaller family-oriented pharmacies are very concerned about treating their customers well, so they make certain to order good quality drugs that they can be assured are full-strength and thus best for their clients. They might not be able to give you the very low prices of the mega-stores, but good levothyroxine isn't super expensive, and it is well worth the extra cost to make sure you're getting a good generic drug that will work well.
Ok, having gotten that issue out of the way, one other thing to consider. Switching from a brand name (Synthroid) to generic (levlthyroxine) of the same dose should make no difference in the efficacy of the drug. While you might notice a difference in how well the drug settles in your stomach (levothyroxine gives me a little bit of an acid stomach whereas Synthroid usually did not) - unless the dr changed the dosage, you should not notice any difference in bodily functioning affected by thyroid levels. Very infrequently people do not do well with generics because there was an added ingredient in the brand name drug that helped them tolerate the drug (probably why the levothyroxine gives me acid stomach) - but this is not nearly as true with thyroid medications as with some other types of drugs (e.g. seizure meds or antibiotics) There just is not that much difference between brand name Synthroid and generic levothyroxine.
(I counter the little bit of acid stomach by making sure I drink enough water to swallow the pill all the way down, and sometimes I chew 2 papaya tablets after I take it.)
However, if after switching to the levothyroxine, you get a rash or have itching, or just don't feel as well as you did with the Synthroid, please let your dr know so he can figure out the cause and get you back on track.
I hope this information helps.
Take care, Tre
by Nicole_C on Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:00 AM
I worked in a Pharmacy for 6 years and dealt with pharmacists all the time. Yhey always said start witha generic always. Never pay for a brand name product. It is the same medication ultimetley. It may look a little different or be a different color but the active main ingredient is the same.
One day I decieded to put this to the test. I changed my levothyroxine 100 mcg over to the Synthroid 100mcg, I didn't feel any different. The only difference I felt was in my pocket book. It was was a $50.00 difference! YIKES!!! That didn't last long. The pharmacists of course laughed at me and said "told you so!"
The other thing to think about is that when you spend all that money on a "brand name" drug who do you think is benefiting from the profits? Especially when there is a generic available .Do you like paying for someone else's Mercedes? Good Luck!!!
by Mommy7toad on Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:00 AM
I have had the exact opposite come true. When my insurance company would not pay for Synthroid and it was filled with the generic, I was feeling the symptoms within 5 days. It was as if I was not taking any medicine. My Dr. said that he always asks for brand name only in the ca patients due to the sometimes unstable generic supplies. He was right. We appealed the insurance decision, and have since had no trouble. I take a high dose 350 mcg, so I noticed the difference quickly.
You could just try the generic for a short time and see how it works for you, usually 6 weeks, and if not talk to the Dr. You will save quiye a bit of money if the generic is for you.
Good Luck, Diana
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