Levo - consistent supply of a favoured brand

I picked up a prescription from the GP today after my Endo wrote to GP telling him to increase my dose from 25 to 50 Levo.

The tablets they gave me were a different brand so I had to go back to GP and ask them to change my prescription (I'm very sensitive to change) so that I could get the same brand as they only stocked 25s.

Medical staff at first told me I would have to visit pharmacies outside of town hunting down 50s as I can't have the prescription changed as it's not their policy to specify a brand on a prescription. When I explained that "No, I wouldn't be doing that! But was happy for them to ring around whilst I waited .... or they could change the prescription they rang one of the pharmacies and arranged to double up the 25s (i.e. give me four packs of 25s for two month prescription).

The chemist said they cannot find this brand in 50s!

It's being changed on their system to only prescribe this brand now but what does this mean going forward:-

What happens at 75 and 100? Does it cost more to get two packs of a lower dose than one of a stronger dose?

34 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Levo is very cheap. My GP said that when I told him I'd switched to NDT and would save the NHS money!

  • There are 25, 50, 100 levo I take 175mg a day and has to take one of all three. It just means that you will have to take 2x25 to get to the right amount. The endo wants you in.

  • No longer true.

    Teva do:

    12.5, 25, 50, 75 and 100.

    Summer64

    Lucycatnaps

  • You are dealing with people who don't know much about actual products. Wockhardt is only available in 25 microgram tablets.

    25 is usually more expensive than 50 or 100. And you need twice as many. So more than double the cost.

  • That's the one - Wockhardt. One of the chemists did say that she had only ever seen it in 25s :-(

    Disappointing - I'm nearly always nauseous or feel odd when taking meds. I was shocked that I don't feel any different from taking it.

  • The Thyroid UK site itself has all sorts of useful information including identifying that Wockhardt is only available in 25 microgram tablets:

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/treatm...

    It is the work of a minute to check the company or EMC sites to find this out - silly pharmacists. :-(

  • Strangely enough Wockhardt is the one I do less well on. I wonder why they only do 25's. I take 75mcg so need a 50 and a 25 but sometimes they can't get the make I prefer either which is Mercury.

  • Chemists including Boots absolutely refused to give me 3 x 25mcg packs to make 75 mcg when my medication was raised. I used to be given anything they had in stock. I was on 75/100mcg alternate days. I preferred the Goldshield 25mcg. Sometimes I was given three different brands.

  • Lucycatnaps,

    Independent pharmacies are likely to be more accommodating than large chains like Boots. If the pharmacist won't order the brand you require ask for your prescription back and take it elsewhere.

  • Unfortunately there are no independents here, 34 mile round trip to one. I take NDT now as was getting nowhere with NHS.

  • Try Tesco pharmacy. I'm not guaranteeing they will accommodate you, but they aren't Boots!

  • I prefer Goldshield which is now Mercury. I wonder what is different in it.

  • Summer64,

    The ingredients are listed in the link Helvella posted above.

  • Oh sorry, can't find it but my eye sight isn't good.

  • Thanks

  • trouble is - the more you double up instead of taking the right dose - the more packing and lactose they have put in you are taking.

  • Go to an independent chemist & explain your sensitivities, they are more likely to accommodate you! Why folks use boots & coop I'll never know, they need too much info every time you visit & then get stuff wrong or worse still say there's a delay - absolute poppycock! My chemist knows me by name & always have the prescription ready. One thing I would add is that I take 125mcg daily & until my last prescription I had been given Wockhardt 25's but as TEVA are now back on the market, I was given those. Even though I trust my chemist I always check the prescription before I leave the shop (mainly because I have lots of things) & he advised me of the change & said he'd swap them if I wished. I'm going to try them, but I've never had any sensitivities like yourself & used to have Teva beforehand. Some people just can't take levo because of the additives. If you feel this way ask on here for alternatives.

  • Rennixon,

    Yo're the first to say she is trying Teva. Maybe you could let us know how you find it in a few weeks.

  • Will do! I start them tomorrow & thought as it was the lower dose o take it would be worth trying. 👍

  • Using the costs from October 2016 NICE – BNF information:

    Tablets, levothyroxine sodium 25 micrograms, net price 28-tab pack = £3.03; 50 micrograms, 28-tab pack = £2.02; 100 micrograms, 28-tab pack = £2.02

    evidence.nhs.uk/formulary/b...

    50 micrograms as two 25 microgram tablets is £6.06 as against £2.02 as a single 50 microgram tablet.

    The costs of dispensing in smaller tablets certainly are higher but, even then, they never reach anywhere near the dizzy heights of liothyronine costs!

    (These are the medicine costs. I think you have to factor in how much the pharmacy gets paid for dispensing but I do not know how that is calculated.)

    If you need three 25 microgram tablets to get a dose of 75 micrograms, then you must get your prescription written that way. Otherwise the pharmacy will be giving you three packets and getting paid for only two. I can understand why they might not be happy to do so.

    I usually urge people NOT to get make put onto their prescriptions. Reason is that if there is any change in the market (e.g launch of a UK lactose-free levothyroxine from Teva, or a severe shortage of another make) you cannot choose to switch. Far better is to discuss with a friendly pharmacy and then you are free to change as and when.

  • Thanks for all the info - much appreciated.

    Most medication makes me really nauseous - so bad that I stop taking things because I am immobilised with the nausea - can't work (and I'm self employed), can't eat. My actual pregnancy was the worst experience of my life - constantly sick and nauseous. I lost a year of my life. It took me several weeks to get started on Levo due to the fear of being nauseous. To be on it and not nauseous is truly fantastic. So that is why I really do want a named brand on my prescription.

    Surely if I wanted to switch brands I could just ask the GP to switch to another brand in the future and remove from my records?

  • I assume you've only tried one brand? Unless you have tried them, you don't know that you would be ill on one or another. In addition, you could get some cyclizine prescribed which would counter the nausea.

    Did you start to get hypothryoid during the pregnancy? (Sorry if I've missed things)

  • Yes - tried one brand.

    You're absolutely right. In the past I tried anti-anxiety medication - many different brands and couldn't make it more than a few days on them. Dr finally prescribed one that was okay. I don't take them any more ... I don't think I ever needed them or they did anything other than make me feel detached from the world.

    Looking back - I must have been hypothyroid in pregnancy. I had masses of crazy blood tests as I went to a clinic abroad, but sadly seem to have missed all the NHS basic blood tests.

    I haven't got any symptoms - static weight that is about it, but then if I'm honest I have never dieted or done extensive exercise so can't blame thyroid for being bone idle.

  • No argument whatsoever about you wanting and needing to stay on same make.

    You pick up your prescription on Friday, you've left it a bit late. Pharmacy can't supply. If you are very lucky you get an appointment on Monday - but we see people waiting two weeks and more for a simple GP appointment. You get a new prescription and then you might get it fulfilled before you run out...

  • Ahhh I understand now. Initially I thought you were saying that once a brand is noted against my records then the Dr won't agree to change it.

  • I also take mercury pharma. I get my medication also from Tesco. There was two lots at one point. But now have mercury one. May be there might be a Tesco near you.x

  • Hello Helena877,,,,I have found that brands seem to be what is supplied from the chemist supply company,,,,and also sometimes what the costs are for the brand of medication,,,,I have had different brands of my metformin, simvastin and amlodipine,,,which just arrive with each monthly delivery,,,don't think that I have had any adverse effects from these changes,,,as the drug content should always be the same in each brand,,,as the ingredients are the things that have been approved for that medication,,so if you are having these problems with different brands then there needs to be an investigation into what is different to cause this to happen to you,,,god luck with a good supply,,,ttfn from Karen.

  • I too never notice any difference with most medicines and expected (or hoped) the same would be the case with levothyroxine. It wasn't and isn't. I now keep to the same make(s) religiously.

  • Have you consider the Yellow Card system to report this problem with the different brands of medication and the side effects that this causes you?

    Ttfn from karen.

  • I've not heard of the yellow card system but will look into reporting in. Thank you.

    Nausea is one of the most common side effects for a lot of medications. I can pretty much handle anything but nausea. It's my downfall!

  • Yes. But the differences have been mild for me except for the Teva scandal which was already under their investigation. Resulting in the product being withdrawn.

    Others find greater differences. Plus it has been widely published in research papers over many years.

  • You are right - I need to find the common denominator to get to the bottom of this. I bet it's one of the bulking agents.

    Recently I took K2-MK7 and had my first very apparent allergic reaction - red, hot and itchy face.

    I will check my old packets of anti-anxiety meds and see what's in them :-)

  • My local boots always gives me the brand I newd. Hey, they even order the Yasmin pill for me instead of a cheaper generic one. The thing is: I can't deal well with extremely sweet pills as it might cause reflux. And there are some real stinkers out there. For levo, Im not sure what brand I have, but they are tasteless apart from a slightly salty taste. White package with dark blue details. Checked: Mercury.

You may also like...