Buying Cynomel over-the-counter in France

I recently answered a question about the reluctance of GP's to prescribe Cynomel and other T3 drugs due to cost. I have just spent a few months in France (back in UK now) and discovered I was able to buy Cynomel at the chemist, without a prescription, for 3 euros (30 tablets x 0.025mg). I went to 2 chemists and was able to buy a pack at each, no problem (although only 1 pack at a time). I mentioned that I was spending a day in Bordeaux and would see if it was the same there. Well, I went to 3 separate chemists there and none of them had any in stock (one did offer to order some for that afternoon but I wasn't going to be there long enough) so maybe this is to do with the shortage people have mentioned?

I intended to try other chemists in the last couple of days there but unfortunately ended up in the emergency department of the local hospital with severe (ie. agonizing) pain in my left kidney area. My GP (I use to go to him when living there) sent me straight to hospital where I had an MRI, blood tests, urine tests well as having dye injected to show any kidney problems. I think it was a kidney stone as the pain went from awful (4 hours of it) to nothing in a second but hospital said they couldn't see one so it wasn't that. Anyway, the reason I mention this is because when I arrived at the hospital (the pain had completely gone and I felt as right as rain but my doctor insisted I still went) I had to go through all the health questions and the doctor was appalled when I said that I was taking Levothyroxine (50 mcg) and Cynomel (12.5 mcg) per day - she said that nobody should EVER take both. I was intrigued as there definitely seems to be a consensus on here and other sites that it is fine to take both. I am self-medicating the Cynomel until I see my own GP next week, I will stick with it but definitely mention it to her.

Basically do not all rush to Calais to buy Cynomel as it appears to be in short supply and I was just fortunate to get some at smaller, rural chemists. My husband returns to France for a week in October and I will ask him to buy some for me - I will let you know how he gets on.

11 Replies

  • it is NOT true you cannot take levo and T3 together (generally speaking, of course 'individual' circumstances and health related issues must be taken into account), there is endocrinologists who do prescribe it, mine does for example. It is all down to the individual's diagnosis and management

    thank you for your update by the way :) hope you feel much much better x

  • Quite right NBD.

    There are even some combination products. Such as the USA product Liotrix / Thyrolar. (The fact it has not been available for several years appears to be down to manufacturing difficulty - not that there is something inherently wrong in taking T4+T3.)

    Also thanks to Loobs for the very interesting update. Hope that stone has gone away. :-)


  • ..perhaps the doc concerned was just anti-T3.....?

  • Some of these Doctors just crack me up! It is terrifying when you think about it seriously, I try not to though :-(

  • Dear Loobs39,

    I hope that since this post you are feeling better? Would you please let me know of the outcome? I am looking to get Cynomel from France for myself - being French and living in London. I have had a hemythyroidectomy 1 yr and 6 months ago and since I am trying my best to find normal levels within myself when it comes to brain function and weight (that keeps on piling on every month yet I am on a very restrictive diet and daily exercise).

    I must say that I am shocked by the stupidity of many doctors - especially GPs that almost feel dangerously inadequate to me when speaking of Thyroid issues. And this especially so after reading your post. I am very upset of what you went through. Personally I am very transparent with my doctors with regards to my own personal health and actions that I take - if they like it or not, I couldn't care less. I cannot allow anyone to tell me what to do with my own health. Doctors should be at the patient's service, not the other way around. Fearing one's GP and what they may have to say to us if we take our health in hand is very wrong I feel. It pains me to know any of us, thyroid patients, to have to put up with the dangerous incompetence that some doctor's face us with, disrespect and more dangerously so, with their additional stress. As if we need all that after all we go through. Please do let me know how you get on. Have you thought to file in a complaint on this GP here above? (should you have felt that you were badly cared for). I wonder what agenda she following? It feels she wasn't listening to your symptoms at all - symptoms that we most thyroid sufferers suffer of when we are poorly medicated. Warm regards, SB

  • Can anyone update me on the situation in France. Having just joined in the nonsense around the cost of Liothyronine in the UK (recently prescribed by a consultant but not supported by the NHS) I thought I had a solution when I saw this post ie OTC Cynamel from France. So I phoned my brother in law who lives in NW France. He duly went to his local pharmacy and yes they had it and it was 3euros but the pharmacist said he needed a prescription? So have things changed in the 7 months since the original posting from Loobs39. Or was I just unlucky with the pharmacy he went to?

  • Not aware it has changed and to be honest it may be that some pharmacies are more lenient than others. I am currently in France so will try in the next few days and let you know how I get on.

  • Thanks for that I look forward to the results of your investigation.

  • Someone told me that the pharmacies around Calais are getting wise to the fact that British people are doing this, but more remote pharmacies may be more lenient. I'm not sure what the actual laws are.

  • Thanks for the info I'll await a response from Loobs.

  • I bought some near Disneyland Paris last week but tried 2 chemists in Calais and neither had it but one said he would order it but I was one way home

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