Actavis levothyroxine: I went and picked up my... - Thyroid UK

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Actavis levothyroxine


I went and picked up my new prescription today and I have been given a new brand of levothyroxine. I was on Mercury and now have Actavis. How is everyone’s experience with Actavis? I am worried how it is going to effect me!!

61 Replies


Why didn't you refuse the Actavis and ask your pharmacist to get you Mercury Pharma or ask for your prescription back so you could take it to another pharmacy? Most pharmacies won't exchange prescription meds which have been taken out of the pharmacy.

I didn't do well on Mercury Pharma and told my pharmacist I wouldn't accept it. I'm fine with Actavis and Wockhardt. I will refuse Teva if offered it because I don't see why I should mess about feeling awful for a couple of months if it doesn't suit.

LMor in reply to Clutter

I asked them to order it in and check with the other Lloyd’s pharmacy to see if it was in and they said Mercury doesn’t come in 50mcg. It comes in 25mcg only. I asked if I could have two lots of 25 and they said no....I ended up just saying ok to the ones they had in. I don’t drive so it’s very difficult for me to get to and from different places. How quickly will I know if it effects me and do you know what the side effects may be? I don’t want to be ill over Christmas.....:-(

Clutter in reply to LMor


Mercury Pharma comes in 25mcg, 50mcg and 100mcg. If you need to switch back to it from Teva ask your pharmacy to contact if they are having difficulty sourcing 50mcg tablets.

Sorry I don't know how quickly you will notice adverse effects or what they'll be.

LMor in reply to Clutter

The pharmacy clearly lied to me then!! Why do they do’s so frustrating. I suppose all I can do is try them and see how I get on.....thank you Clutter......x

Clutter in reply to LMor


If you feel too uncomfortable to complain to the pharmacist directly then you can make a complaint to NHS England. If you are not satisfied with the way the pharmacist/pharmacy has dealt with your complaint then you can take your complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.17 Nov 2015

Pharmacy services explained - The NHS in England - NHS Choices

Scrummy9 in reply to Clutter

I think you are going a bit OTT here, complain to NHS England about what? The pharmacy issuing the correct generic medicine against a generic prescription? There is no contractual obligation to supply any particular brand against a generic prescription.

If you medically require a certain brand, then it should be prescribed as that brand. If it is not prescribed as that brand then the only potential error here is with your doctor.


The point that chains are tied to brands is accurate. I often have patients come to me for certain brands that the chains are not even able to source. Find a good independent and talk to them. Remember a good relationship is key, so if you work with them, they will work with you.

The one advantage of the Teva brand is that it is Lactose free, so for those who are particularly sensitive to lactose (the amount in a tablet in tiny and this is a small portion of even those who are lactose intolerant ) then they can be useful.

Good luck

Clutter in reply to Scrummy9


Complain that the pharmacist lied about there being no 50mcg Mercury Pharma. If the pharmacist meant that the distributor would not supply the pharmacy 50mcg MP s/he should have said so and LMor may have requested the prescription back and taken it elsewhere.

Patients are advised not to swap from brands which suit them and are entitled to request a particular brand. If the pharmacy declines to oblige then the patient should request the prescription form back and take it elsewhere. It is not desirable to have the brand written on the prescription because if there is a shortage the pharmacist can't substitute another brand and the patient will have to obtain another prescription.

A number of members have said that Teva doesn't suit them and have filed yellow card reports but one or two have said they are happy with it.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Clutter


I agree.

Further, if someone gets a prescription specifically for, say, Actavis, what happens if the pharmacy has Almus and/or Northstar? They are both the exact same product just in a different outer package. But is the pharmacy allowed to supply them against a prescription written for Actavis? Will the pharmacist even know they are the same?

If would be ridiculous not to get them dispensed, but either ignorance or tightly written rules could prevent the pharmacist from supplying the other products.

melville999 in reply to Scrummy9

great comprehensive reply

Quasarlis in reply to LMor

As do the Dr’s Endo’s Etc regarding our illness! Get yourself on T3 and tell them ALL where to go very loudly in front of everyone ... Save yourself the insult and frustration

Sadly you can't just ask for T3 even if you feel you'd benefit from it. Many of us have been refused it on a cost basis.

Wilesdengirl in reply to LMor

That is not true.!! I am on 50 Mercury. I would suggest you change your pharmacy. Good luck.

melville999 in reply to LMor

I'm on it.its fine.some other brands I have wondered if the medicine was in it.but this stuff is ok.And I hate meds vitamins etc so am fairly minimilist.good luck

LAHs in reply to Clutter

Right on Clutter, changing a brand is a big deal, it's like going back to square one in trying to get to a stable effective dose. Believe me, that happened to me and I was sick for two years. LMor, refuse the new brand, stick to what works.



They have, effectively, lied to you.

This link goes straight to the page for 50 microgram levothyroxine by Mercury Pharma on the Electronic Medicines Compendium site:

Suppliers who favour Actavis (or the Almus or Northstar repackaged Actavis) have to supply another make when they dispense 25 microgram tablets for the simple reason that Actavis do not make a 25 microgram product. This might be Mercury Pharma, Wockhardt or Teva. Their internal lists might show 25 microgram as the only Mercury Pharma tablet they will supply. But that is very different to "doesn't come in" which implies that it doesn't exist.

I prefer Actavis to Mercury Pharma! The difference to me isn't dramatic - just a change in how well dosed I fell thought the day. But lies are lies and are not acceptable even if they work exactly the same for you.

LMor in reply to helvella

Thank’s very unprofessional of Lloyd’s pharmacy. :-(

Nanaedake in reply to LMor

Lloyds pharmacy are tied into a contract with one supplier so they are not free to source the type of levothyroxine you prefer. I too live in a rural area and know how tricky this is but I've now found an independent Chemist in case our GP dispensary cannot provide what I want and need. Dispensaries too are tied into a contract with a supplier.

The supplier provides whichever generic medicine they fancy. Unfortunately as the MHRA (UK) has decreed that all levothyrxoine are equivalent then pharmacies try not to comply with patient choice. In reality there is quite a bit of information from patients that we don't find levothyroxines interchangeable and historically this has been the case.

They could have explained with an honest answer and not a silly excuse. If it is down to the supplier then say so.... it doesn't hurt to be honest.


helvellaAdministrator in reply to LMor


I agree. If it was done out of ignorance - well they should not be that ignorant. If it was done not out of ignorance, it is very much unprofessional.

My own local Lloyds supplies Wockhardt as their standard 25 microgram product. (No idea if they would source something else.)

I always stick with Actavis, always available at Boots and I won't have Mercury because they affect my guts. Teva I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. I get 100mcg and 50 mcg Almus/Actavis and split the 50 to give 2 doses of 25mcg and take the half every other day so that I alternate between 100mcg and 125mcg because I knew I couldn't take MP.

Do hope you get sorted. I always have a couple of spare packets of meds, say you lost them! as I don't ever want to be in the situation of only having one packet in my possession!

I always had Teva until they changed the formula. I have been on Actavis and Wochardt for almost a year now and fine. It is a personal thing. You could ask your surgery to write the brand you prefer in the prescription and also make it out as 2 packs of 25mcg if your preferred brand does not make them in 50mcg. We do that for a few of our patients in the surgery dispensary where I work. It is such a cheap drug that one pack more or less does not really matter.

I’m back on Actavis now after a few months of taking Teva. I felt dreadful on Teva and had to change pharmacists to get it. I was told by my old pharmacy that there was no evidence that different brands of thyroxine were not the same. I suggested to that person that the patient was the evidence and she should listen to them.

teacherspet in reply to Citta

I only have problems with Teva and now I ask what brand they have before I put in the prescription. This works for me as I live in London and have plenty of places I can go..... the pharmacy in Tesco were helpful and so was my local one.

Nanaedake in reply to Citta

The MHRA said they would keep it under review. Have you made a yellow card report?

Citta in reply to Nanaedake

Yes, some time ago. I wonder how many yellow cards they have received about Teva to date.

I told my pharmacist that the senior consultant said I must not have different brands as all brands are not equal. I find a little senior consultant one upmanship always works I check my prescription before I leave the shop and if they give me the wrong Ines I refuse to take them reiterating that they can explain to my consultant why I am ill.

I've learned that you are on your own with thyroid problems and you have to stand your ground.

Nanaedake in reply to Stefcon

Sadly our dispensary chose to ignore that and it was true, the oncologist stated categorically I should stick to one formulation of levothroxine and wrote to the GP. The dispensary still chose to ignore.

This discussion prompted me to check what brand I’m on. I’ve been on various different doses of levo over the years since 2009. Currently I’m on 175mcg per day, made up of 100mcg Actavis, 50mcg MercuryPharma, and 25mcg Treva. I’ve always used the same pharmacy, and never thought to check the brands before. Goodness knows what mixture of brands I’ve had over the years!!!

I’ve been feeling very poorly over the past year or so, with hypo symptoms returning, and I’m currently in “discussions” with my GP about a way forward (I’m not anticipating much progress). This issue of brands is just going to throw another variable into the mix................sigh!

Clutter in reply to bristolboy


Assuming you are optimally dosed, ask your pharmacist to printout a record of the prescriptions you've had in the last 18 months and see if you can work out whether introduction of a specific brand may coincide with you feeling unwell and try excluding that brand to see whether symptoms improve.

bristolboy in reply to Clutter

Excellent idea, Clutter. I’ll give it a try. Many thanks, Nick.

Nanaedake in reply to Clutter

Hmmmm, our dispensary said they couldn't print out a list. Wonder if that is true??

Clutter in reply to Nanaedake


No idea. I just assumed that information on the computer can be printed out.

Nanaedake in reply to Clutter

Me too, but dispensary said they don't keep a record of what brand is dispensed! Seems wrong to me.

Clutter in reply to Nanaedake


I don't believe that. If they don't keep track of what brand, batch no. etc. to which patient how can they effect product recalls in the case of something wrong?

Nanaedake in reply to Clutter

I know. They've had a change of staff now so I'll try asking next time just to see what they say.

bristolboy in reply to Nanaedake

I'll post again once I've asked my pharmacy.

Nanaedake in reply to Clutter

I think that was the trouble, they should have recalled high risk patients who were issued TEVA in 2012/13 and they didn't, maybe because they didn't know who they were?

Hi, you might be fine on it but you do have the right to say which brand you are suited to. When I take Actavis I feel all spaced out and have a severe headache. My pharmacist only gives me Mercury Pharma. I had a lot of problems with other pharmacies telling me it was all in my head and they're all the same. Luckily I found a pharmacist who listens to me and they aren't far from me.

LMor in reply to Alisonmeredith

I took one tablet last night and woke up with a thumping headache :-(

Actavis is the only brand I can take

LT/T4 from any manufacturer is a pile of dog dollop anyway ... Get some T3!!

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Quasarlis


If you are going to make such strong statements, please don't just make a bald statement but explain it, back it up with references and evidence.

Many people have found that T3 was not the answer to their needs.

Quasarlis in reply to helvella

Fair enough and I apologise. As for backing it up with evidence and references please refer to my opening post regarding lieing doctors, Endo’s etc and their corrupt ways along with blood results and so on. Most people on here have been treated disgustingly as you know. I’m very passionate about as I have been treated disgustingly in the past too and it boils my blood when I read repeated claims of it ... This post wasn’t directly linked to that so maybe I have spoken out of turn .. once again I apologise.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Quasarlis


Thank you for replying like that. :-)

I think we all understand that enormous disconnect between patients

and those who are supposed to be diagnosing and treating them.

I do believe that many need some T3. Would be so good if this could be discussed with a well-informed practitioner and the required medicines made available.

Quasarlis in reply to helvella

Yes ... And it would be good if humans could breathe under water and fly like an eagle wouldn’t it? But it will never happen!! Lol 👍🏼👍🏼❤️❤️👊🏻👊🏻

Wizzy68 in reply to Quasarlis

I currently take 150mch levo and it makes me feel awful. Feel cold to the bone,aching joints,back pain,headaches. Feel like a black cloud is hanging over me. My GP wouldn't listen to me and put down depression and anxiety. I decided to stop my levo and see how I felt. Within 3-4 days I wish symptom free. Reported it to my GP who wasn't happy about me doing it and then claimed it can't be the levo as suits all and he won't discuss me changing. Apparently there is nothing else available in the UK. No way he will give me T3 treatment as he has his head in the sand.

Anyone else feel this way on Levo?

Quasarlis in reply to Wizzy68

Self medicate with T3 and as I said previous tell your clueless, lieing GP where to go very loudly in front of everyone.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the above. It too prompted me to look on the box and see my prescription is from Actavis. I have been prescribed this for about 3 years and my GP dispensary has never changed the brand, I will be keeping watch in the future. I have both 100 and 50 micro grams prescribed.

Hi . I have now been taking Actavis levothyroxine for a couple of months and haven't noticed any difference at all. Hope that's the same for you.

Hi all

I too have just picked up my prescription and received 50mg in Mercury Pharma and 25mg in Wockhardt. As far as I'm aware I've always had Mercury Pharma but didn't know pharmacists will give a mix of brands. I can't say that I've felt well on Mercury Pharma and my weight is sadly increasing. What difference if any can I expect to see taking Wockhardt tablets?

Nanaedake in reply to Pebs130

You may or may not notice a difference, everyone is different. Wockhardt has the least fillers of all the UK levothyroxines currently available.

Some people react to fillers directly, perhaps some fillers change stomach bacteria and therefore affect absorption of levothyroxine or cause bacterial overgrowth in small intestines. I don't think anyone is really sure what causes the differences in response to levothyroxines including the scientists.

This research document gives a clue to some aspects of taking levothyroxine and how it affects us.

SIBO and levothyroxine

Thank you Nanaedake and apologies for my ignorance but what do you mean by less fillers? What is a filler and could it be that the more filler in the medication the more it could be affecting my gut and be a reason for weight gain?

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Pebs130


The word "filler" is widely used for all ingredients of a medicine other than the active ingredient. They have numerous purposes - bulking agents, disintegrants, colourants, pH control, etc. The formal term is excipients.

The amount of thyroid hormone in any thyroid hormone tablet is tiny. (Whereas something like aspirin or paracetamol is very largely the active ingredient.) We simply couldn't handle tablets that consisted of thyroid hormone only.

The term "fewer fillers" can mean two things:

A smaller list of inactive ingredients;

A smaller absolute quantity of inactive ingredients.

It is not at all clear that "fewer fillers" in itself is important - by either definition. But on a simple basis of chances - the fewer substances are present, the less likely you are to have a bad reaction to one of them.

In the extreme, one company produce gel caps containing water, gelatin and glycerol only.

I have been taking Actavis for years and find it suits me better than any of the other ones.

I was given something different the other day and didn't realise until I got home. They took it back with no problems and said they would make a note on their system to only give me Actavis in the future.


Everyone is different.Some can chop and change brands and feel fine.Some cannot, its what works for you.Ask your pharmacy to ensure same brand in future or you could go elsewhere many pharmacist agree not to change branding.Suppliers often get the blame for change.

Hopefully you will be fine thats about as much as you can do, hope.

Merry Christmas hope you have a special day and feel well. X

Was given Actavis Levothyroxine 6 weeks ago instead of the brand I'm usually prescribed. 4 weeks ago my hair started to fall out and I have lost at least 50% of my hair with bald patches starting to show. Several posts on different websites from women experiencing the same problem! Very traumatising!! Stopped taking 6 days ago and still experiencing significant loss. Apparently will take more than 3 weeks until drug is out of my system and hopefully hair loss will stop however no guarantee its not permanent!!

LMor in reply to Beaver16

I am very sorry to hear that. It’s very distressing when it happens. Actavis hasn’t done this to me which I’m extremely grateful for. My thyroid has caused terrible hair loss in the past but if anything, since being on levo it has improved. I also take I lysine and have done for around four years. This helped with the loss too :-)

I have done well on Actavis and wockhaart. Could not tolerate Mercury Pharma as it had acacia in it which gave me stomach pains. Hope your hair is better now. Might just have been a co-incidence with Actavis as hair does go in cycles and my hair is really thick now after about four years. Whilst going through bad patch I kept my hair fairly short and good hairstylist can do wonders. That is if you feel like going. As I was so tired at first could not be bothered. Hope things will go well for you.

Actives in my experience, is the best medication. Other brands give me indigestion or make me feel sick. At the moment the chemist can not get hold of actives??? So I'm suffering with indigestion. I would gladly pay for the medication, but it's not an option.

I am going to look on line to see if I can buy it.

Best of luck.

LMor in reply to Peachandcream

Have you tried boots? I get mine from there every time. ( Branded as Almus). Good luck x

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