Advice on Armor (Amour?)


I am a Brit living in the States and my new doctor is putting me on Armor as from today. I believe that she is starting me off on 75. She did say that it will probably need a lot of tweaking to get it right and I will probably take more than one dose per day.

I have no idea what to expect, so just thought I'd ask you guys.

I had been on 150 on Levothyroxine in the UK but constantly blipped for several years with the occasional increase in meds and my wonderful doc in the UK would kind of do a best of two blood tests to make sure I was never under dosing.

When I first got to the States, the only medication that could be offered to me was Synthroid by my first doctor here. I was going to see an Endo but we moved away and had to change our docs again so never got around to it. I never ever felt good on the Synthroid, especially as the doc insisted I take 125 and 150 on alternating days, which really is a decrease in medication.

My current doctor said that she looked at my results from just before we moved showed that blood test showed that I had really bombed and now wonder I felt so tired, gained so much weight etc etc...that's when she said lets try the Armour before getting referred to an Endo.

She ordered bloods yesterday and they came back as a normal thyroid function.

I was pleased that they came back "normal" but shocked that they were...I am wondering if the two cups of coffee did

Anyway, sorry for the long one but just thought I'd cover some background...but I need all the advice I can get on what to expect on Amor.


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27 Replies

  • Here is a run down of different thyroid medications. Armour is a natural desiccated hormone and so is Erfa. Those come in "grains' or 60 to 65 mcg. You can get that explained on this list. 75 is unusual because half grain would be 30 and you can also get 90. I am trying to recall the equivalent measurement of thyroxine to one grain of Armour. It may be 100 or 125 but you can find it out.

    You should get a print of your blood tests since we consider "normal" TSH as 1 or less and even in the U.S. you may get some argument about that.

    I switched from Synthroid to Armour after a six-year struggle and did much better although they would never reduce my TSH enough so I was undertreated. It has repercussions so try to avoid that.

  • Thank you for that.

    Would GP's in the UK prescribe ndt to their patients, and what brand would it normally be?


  • I've read these blogs for months and many GP's will not prescribe Armour. It all depends on how unlucky you are. Some GP's will add some T3 to your T4 but that is pretty rare as well, I think. We've never had a survey but I think they use the term "on a patient named basis" and those can get out of the ordinary prescriptions. Erfa is sold in Canada and Armour by Forest Laboratories is sold in the U.S. and they are similar but some of the fillers may differ.

  • So it looks like it might be difficult to get Amour when I return to the UK.


  • You could very well have difficulty getting it prescribed by a GP in the UK. Most are reluctant to do so, it can only be prescribed on a named patient basis as it is unlicenced, but this means that the GP must take personal responsibility for it, which most wont. You have more chance getting it from an Endo, but even they can be awkward. It can also be difficult to get a referral to an NHS endo unless there are complications or other factors as the primary care for hypothyroidism is left upto the GP

  • I have written various blogs about my "journey" with Armour. I can't link to them at the moment as I'm on my phone. It took quite a while for me to feel better on it, probably a year to find my optimum dose, bug it wax worth it as I'm feeling great now :)

    Will try to post a link later (off to book group now). Good luck with it xxx

  • I look forward to reading hat Clare..x

  • Here you are - better late than never :) xx

  • Armour desiccated thyroid is named after the founders of the company its raw ingedient came from. As such, the spelling is what they used for their name rather than what might otherwise be expected from the home of color, flavor, harbor, honor, humor, labor, neighbor, rumor. :-)

    Armour and Company

    Armour & Company was an American meatpacking and food processing company founded in Chicago, in 1867 by the Armour brothers, led by Philip Danforth Armour. By 1880, the company had become Chicago's most important business and had helped make Chicago and its Union Stock Yards the center of America's meatpacking industry. During the same period its facility in Omaha, Nebraska boomed as well, making the city's meatpacking industry the largest in the nation by 1959. In the 1980s, the Armour brand was split between shelf-stable meat products and refrigerated meat products. Today each is owned by different entities.

    The Armour Star (shelf-stable) brand includes meat-based lard and canned entrees, including hash, chili, stews, and potted meats. The rights to the Armour Star food brand are owned by Pinnacle Foods. The Armour brand for refrigerated meats is now owned by Smithfield Foods of Smithfield, Virginia, through their affiliate, Armour Eckrich LLC. The Armour brand for use in the pharmaceutical industry is owned by Forest Laboratories.

    On the more medical side, I have seen a number of USA residents claim that they did not do well on Synthroid - and were noticeably better on other products such as Lannett/Unithroid or another make. Most especially, a number seem to like the expensive option of Tirosint.

    It is odd to put you on an alternating 125/150 dose when Synthroid is available in 137 mcg tablets!


  • This was done because of the results of a blood test and the doc wanted to reduce me to I think she made a compromise because I put up a bit of a fight.

    I should mention that my Synthroid was prescribed via a small Air force base with a small pharmacy in situ...Had I taken up my Endo appointment he or she would have prescribed whatever they felt was right for me.

    Now my doctors practice is a very large Army base with a very large pharmacy who have a lot more at their disposal regarding treatment/medication etc.

    From the moment my Levothyroxine from the UK ran out and I started Synthroid...all the original symptoms came back.

    Thanks Rod for the background on the company, very interesting.


  • can i please get clarity on "levothyroxine UK which ran out and then you started synthroid & all symptoms came back" -- i thought levothyroxine & synthroid were the same medicine..? am i mistaken?

  • I was prescribed Levothyroxine in the UK and prescribed Synthroid in the USA.

    Yes, I thought that they were the same medicinally, but in my case for one reason or another I did not do well on Synthroid at all.

  • I found it best to start with a low dose of Armour, started at 25 mcg and built up over about two months, right from the lower dose I felt better and many of my symptoms disappeared, however I believe I have been permanently damaged by taking levo, when I complained it was doing nothing to alleviate my symptoms I was ignored, this I found was typical of the attitude from doctors 'go away and take the tablets and don't bother me'.

  • What was the damage & how long on Levo, Glynis?

    I don't like how it feels to be on it over-much, either.

  • I'm so sorry to hear that, and I have to say that I have never felt right, never felt normal...but if I had to choose out of the Synthroid and the Levothyroxine, it would be the latter.

    My doctor has started me on 75 of Armour...I am so hoping it makes things better for me too.


  • Not sure if the above comment was to me- but I've cut back Levo to 12.5mcg 2 days ago as fed up with feeling mugged one way or another and immediately felt better [within a day].

    I'm sensitive to meds and take some heavy duty ones but at low levels only.[Colchicine, Adenuric,CCBs +more] I don't think they interact causing any problem.

    Levo just doesn't suit -and it's good to hear I'm not alone.

    Drs may well hide behind their desks/screens -but we have to live with these drugs/hormones.

    I just wonder if T4+T3 would be any better -but don't want Armour, being veggy.

  • Hi Tegz

    I really do sympathies with your dilemma of being a vegetarian.

    Just this evening I had this conversation with my husband. I am not a vegetarian, but care very much about the treatment of animals; I refused certain HRT treatments because how they are extracted.

    And although, as someone else mentioned they they thought levo and Synthroid were the same, just reading many threads here seem to prove that perhaps they are not.

    Good luck x

  • Hi Snowinok.

    Ive just started on Armour last month. Been prescribed it by a private Endo. I did terrible on levothyroxine and on T4/T3. I havent really noticed much difference yet but maybe i feel a bit calmer and eyes less gritty. Brain fog a little bit better. To be honest though i had lots and lots of symptoms on levo and was bedridden some days on it.

    Ive just read you answer Clarebear and realise its not instant for everybody but so pleased that it worked for you over time.

    I know just what you mean Glynisrose about treatment with levo.

    Mine has been a long journey, and im still on it but hopefully will get there in the end.

    Good look Snowinok

    Love Angie xx

  • I guess all we can hope for is that we don't feel worse than the last drug.

    When I go back over the years, my life has been marred by constant poor doubt due to hypothyroidism.

    So you managed to get Armour on the UK, but privately?...could you GP not give it to you or just reluctant?

    Good luck to you too Angie.


  • I will pm you xx

  • I meant that levo had damaged me beyond all help!! I am suffering now because I was not prescribed Armour earlier. I was on levo for 7 years and the doctors, as i see it, stole 7 years of my life!!

  • Hi Snow, If you do well on Armour, I hope they will continue it in the UK since you will have been on it a while. I think you could insist. Armour has both T4 and T3 and T2, T1 and that is why it is more compatible with our bodies that the lab made product. Armour was used for at least fifty years successfully before the man-made T4.

    The half-life of T4 is a lot longer than T3. The former is almost two weeks and the latter around one day so T3 has a much quicker response. Armour used to be very cheap in the states but if you can get a prescription, you can possibly get it elsewhere if it can be imported.

    I do hope you do well on Armour and can continue with it.

  • I get Erfa prescribed and provided by a private doctor. I'm still increasing my dose so I don't know how expensive it'll ultimately work out as being per month but when I'm on a stable dose I'm going to try asking GPs if I can get it on the NHS. The reason I'm posting is just to say that it is possible to find doctors who will prescribe it (you can always send me a message and I'll give you my doctor's details) to tide you over while you're trying to find a GP who will prescribe it on the NHS. Good luck with Armour!

  • Thank you Zabby

    Well I sure do hope that you can get the drugs that work for you on an NHS prescription.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Good luck too.


  • Is it my imagination? Three days on Armour and I feel better than I have for a long time.

    I'm not saying that I feel 100%, but so much better than I have for such a long long time.

    About 2 hours after I take my Armour (on empty stomach as advised) I do feel a slight (very slight) jittery feeling, like if had way too much coffee, but this does wear off very quickly. I don't feel so desperately hungry or bone weary tired. Not feeling too brain fogged and my mood has lifted.

    Well hopefully this not just wishful thinking.

    Anyone else get affects this quickly?


  • I suspect that though T4 is considered a long acting hormone if any side effects occur they can have short time scales.

    Equally, now you're on Armour, then a rebound on the 'good side' seems not out of the question. T3 is shorter acting, anyway.

    There's very little known about the T2 and T1 in Armour, from what I've seen- I think it may help the body in adapting to the hormone swings brought on by doses being flooded in.

    The body doesn't produce these hormones in large chunks, after all!

  • I would be interested in finding out what those of you on NDT and doing well on it are taking...the reason I'm asking is that I have both Erfa and Armour Thyroid that were prescribed to me by two different doctors (one claiming Erfa is best, the other claiming Armour is).

    I would love to hear from those of you who have tried both, and settled for one of these brands: what made you choose either Armour or Erfa? What were you symptoms? How did they improve. Etc.

    Also, how do you take the drugs? Do you chew the up, crush them and mix with for instance honey, or just swallow, or let them melt under the tongue...?

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