Brand change of levothyroxine : I collected my... - Thyroid UK

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Brand change of levothyroxine

Juliejues
Juliejues
64 Replies

I collected my levothyroxine tablets today. And they gave me a different brand than what I usually have. I usually take actavis. Which suits me. And they have given me almus brand. I explained to pharmacist that I have actavis. And he said he hasn’t any. And can only give me what he has in stock. This wasn’t my usual pharmacist as the usual guy is on holiday. I’m a bit worried to take a different brand. As a couple of years ago I took a different brand and I had bad side effects. Can anyone help please.

Juliejues

64 Replies
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Aurealis

There must be so much nhs money wasted due to this common problem. You may be able to get your usual pharmacist to record on their system that you have Actavis then it’s easier to argue with the locum pharmacists in future. But for now you can only try it or return to gp for another prescription. I don’t think there’s any way of changing the brand once you’ve collected it. But see what others say. Good luck

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Juliejues
Juliejues
in reply to Aurealis

Hi.

I’m going to pop back to chemist on Monday, see if original pharmacist is back. And ask him if he can help. I know in the past I’ve had the wrong brand and he did say he will put on my records that I have actavis.

If not I’ll go back to GP and get another prescription and go to all chemists till I can get the right brand.

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SeasideSusie
SeasideSusieAdministrator

Juliejues

You have nothing to worry about. Almus is Actavis. Actavis is rebranded as Northstar for Lloyd's Pharmacy and also as Almus for Boots. Occasionally they turn up in other pharmacies when the Actavis brand isn't available.

Have a look at the Almus box, somewhere it will have Actavis written on it, probably the long narrow side. The patient information leaflet will be for Actavis and the foil back of the blister strip will say Actavis.

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Juliejues

Thank you. I was getting myself in a right state

Xx

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SlowDragon
SlowDragonAdministrator

List here

thyroiduk.org/tuk/treatment...

Activis and alumus are apparently same brand

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Juliejues

Thank you

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Nanaedake

I take Actavis and Almus is the same just different packaging name. I have found no difference in taking them. It says Actavis, made in Barnstaple somewhere on packaging as other people have already said.

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silverfox7

Glad it's sorted but the pharmacist should have known that and been able to tell you.

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StitchFairy

So true. I was with someone recently when they collected their levo from Boots and the pharmacist was really surprised when my friend told her it was Actavis inside the Almus box!

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pamelashep

Hi, I too take Actavis Levo and mine now comes in the packet marked Almus but inside the tablets are marked Actavis on the silver foil. I panicked too. But Boots pharmacy explained Almus is just the packaging company.

Good luck and hope the Levo inside is Actavis. Pam

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helvella
helvellaAdministrator
in reply to pamelashep

Theoretically Almus is just the packaging and, on that basis, they could change source at any time.

However, in the years they have been supplying the levothyroxine market, it has always been Actavis.

SeasideSusie is quite right - look at long narrow edge (bottom as you look at the front of the pack the right way up). It says Actavis. (This avoids any need to break the seal and open the pack.)

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pamelashep
pamelashep
in reply to helvella

I never noticed that before. Yes it does save opening them.

Thanks for information helvella.

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helvella
helvellaAdministrator
in reply to pamelashep

The ther week, I mentioned it to a pharmacist who had never realised and was opening every pack....

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pamelashep
pamelashep
in reply to helvella

Gosh that's worrying. After all if your like me got it stated on your prescription Actavis Levo. He should know these things I would have thought, unless they are changing the packaging to fool people.? Pam

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helvella
helvellaAdministrator
in reply to pamelashep

The repackaging of Actavis as Almus and Northstar has been going on for years. (There used to be Lloyds packaging but it appears they stopped that, then, sometime later, introduced Northstar.)

Although it can confuse, I really do not think confusion is the aim.

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Ladybex

I stay with the same brand as I had a bad reaction with a different one. Let your pharmacy know that you wish to keep to the same brand ...

Best wishes 😊

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pamelashep
pamelashep
in reply to Ladybex

Yes I have it marked on my prescription to have Actavis Levo

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gingerthecat

I have had this problem. So now I always check the prescription before I leave the,Pharmacy, as you can change it, if you haven't touch the box! The Pharmacy I used to use gave me the the same brand even though it was on their system that it didn't agree with me. So they gave me my Prescription back and I took it elsewhere. I always had Activis, but now am on Northstar which is as good. Hope you get it sorted.

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Bijouvert

Hi, I had the same problem when I picked up my last medications. All of them, not just the levo, were different brands - so much so that I thought they'd given me someone else's prescription on first glance.

Pharmacies are experiencing major problems with trying to explain why this is happening so I did a bit of research - Teva (who own Actavis) are having financial and etc. difficulties - too much to go into here. Maybe stockpiling some meds has an effect too, I don't know.

There doesn't seem to be good communication between GP's and pharmacies, which then trickles down to the patient. GP still had on my repeat prescription items that are no longer available and not offering alternatives. Pain clinic cancelled 3 times now as Capsaicin patches are not available (had to research that one as nobody would tell me)- neither is the cream which was on repeat. But I just receive 'we have cancelled your appointment' with no alternative pain relief offered.

The lack of information is so frustrating.

I'm glad to hear Almus is the same, I was concerned about that too... great to get this info on here as it's sadly lacking elsewhere.

All best wishes to you x

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SeasideSusie
SeasideSusieAdministrator
in reply to Bijouvert

Bijouvert

Teva (who own Actavis)

No, Teva don't own Actavis. It's not correct that Teva still owns Actavis.

helvella frequently replies when this comes up, from his reply in this thread:

healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

For a brief period, Teva owned the company we knew as Actavis - the bit in Devon that makes Actavis levothyroxine. One of the conditions of the deal was that Teva dispose of that bit of Actavis - which they did. They were taken over by Accord.

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Bijouvert

I stand corrected, thank you.

Many apologies to everyone for my ignorance.

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RedApple
RedAppleAdministrator
in reply to Bijouvert

Actually, it's often only when someone posts inaccurate info that others find out about the issue for the first time - if that makes sense :) We all learn so much from this forum, even those of us who've been here for what seems like eternity!

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Bijouvert
Bijouvert
in reply to RedApple

Ah thank you so much for your very kind reply - I felt awful making these mistakes today but yes, I suppose that's how we learn. I really appreciate your reply x

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pamelashep

It's all worrying isn't it. After all we are all human beings and a one size doesn't suit all. I'm taking Actavis marked on prescription. So hope I will still be able to get it. Pam

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Jodiedebs55

I have the wokhardt brand but my pharmacist has told me it's in very short supply as are all wokhardt products including cancer meds he said theres a nationwide shortage due to chemists stock piling awaiting the leaving Brexit on 31st October, I'm also struggling to get my sons epilepsy meds it's a huge concern to me, several of my friends from around the country are experiencing difficulties getting their usual thyroid meds so it could be that , hope you get it sorted

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alchemilla12

yes i had problems getting my wockhardt brand -my pharmacist had to source it from other pharmacists but she said it was nothing to do with Brexit but rather something to do with wockhardt sourcing some of the ingredients ..

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pamelashep

Just shows how bad things are getting. Frightening.

After all we just want to be able to get our normal prescription don't we. No more no less.

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Dot-69
Dot-69
in reply to Jodiedebs55

Do you know I often wonder how those of us old enough to have lived before joining Europe managed to survive at all with all this scare mongering going on over what we won't be able to get. I don't recall people dying in the streets for lack of food or meds.

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Jodiedebs55
Jodiedebs55
in reply to Dot-69

It's not scare mongering it's a fact , and actually if you don't take your prescription medication for thyroid it could result in death unfortunately that's another true fact , there is a delay and my particular pharmacist cannot source wokhardt only teva or mercury pharma, teva makes me feel so ill so brands do matter

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helvella
helvellaAdministrator
in reply to Jodiedebs55

Many things have changed since the 1960s.

Stock levels. Where products and ingredients are made. The number of medicines.

Some medicines are made in the UK and exported to the rest of Europe. Other mediciens are made in the rest of Europe and imported to the UK.

The government has just issued contracts for about 98 million pounds for ferries to try to ensure continuing delivery of medicine even in a no-deal brexit. I don't believe that was done because they have fallen for untrue scare-mongering.

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Summer64

I do better on Mercury Pharma so my GP has put that on the prescription now so the pharmacy have to try and get that. The one I didn't do so well on, and was proved in blood tests, was Wockhardt.

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Chriskisby
Chriskisby
in reply to Summer64

Do you manage to get them ok? I am having difficulty obtaining Mercury Pharma.

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Summer64
Summer64
in reply to Chriskisby

Usually. Sometimes the 25 mcgs are hard to get so I have to have more 50's and halve them.

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Chriskisby
Chriskisby
in reply to Summer64

Interesting as I was given 5x25 the time before last! This time I have been given 2x50 and a 25! Teva was my downfall.

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Sharoosz
Sharoosz
in reply to Summer64

Wockhardt bad for me too - made me nauseous and bloated. Pharmacy now has it on file to not give me that but doctor's office said they can only prescribe 'generic' thyroxine and what you get at the pharmacy is what you get! Check your medication before you leave the pharmacy and refuse it if it's one you can't take.

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Blue2

Almus is a livery only. This means the packet has a particular colour for each dosage - which was adopted in order to help reduce error in fulfilling the presciption - for instance, 20 mg might be blue colour, 40 mg could be red, 80 mg could be green and so on. It's supposed to help busy dispensers to identify dose more easily than if they were all in plain white boxes. You need to look at what is in the packet to know which brand has been dispensed

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silverfox7

I had a problem , must be around 5 years ago now but I got home with my MP Levo to find it wasn’t! So I took it back! I explained so I was told it was because I had t specified the brand. So I said I thought I had (I knew I had). So she then went to look at their card index and then motioned to a young girl to go over and showed he the card! She then came back to me and shoved the MP replacement in my hand. No apology, nothing. It was obvious that the young girl had just started and had either not been told to check their records or had forgotten but a sorry it won’t happen again and the explanation would have been good, but nothing at all! May be that helped me to decide to self medicate but then a short time ago I had issues with my order. I only wanted one of the two on my repeat prescription but they kept giving me both! I finally snapped when in taking the extra back I found the delivery man waiting to deliver my order so two mistakes on the same day! The surgery assured me the only items that attracted a charge were the ones that actually produced the order form so that felt better as I worried that money was changing hands on wrong orders or things that have seen sent twice. When I had called into see them there didn’t seem to be anyone who looked over 12 plus they relied on locum pharmacists! Frightening!

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pamelashep

It's not good sometimes is it. Hopefully they get it right most times. But usually check mine.

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jjyankee

After going through this hassle a few times I asked my doctor to prescribe “only Synthroid” which I tolerate better than any genetic I’ve been on- with the generic I’d have to always tell the pharmacist ahead of time and sometimes they couldn’t get the brand I needed- I’m in the states so not sure how things work in the UK- i think it’s probably easier for us to request a brand name if needed. I have private insurance (costs a damn fortune! )

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Biddy51

Yes they have changed the outer packaging for some reason. Does still say Actavis on the tablet packet on the inside. I was told that if you get on with your usual levothyroxine and are doing well, then your Thyroxine brand should not be swapped! I have been palmed off with Teva on numerous occasions, but hand it back!

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SeasideSusie
SeasideSusieAdministrator
in reply to Biddy51

Yes they have changed the outer packaging for some reason

No they haven't changed the packaging. As explained above, Actavis is rebranded as Northstar for Lloyds Pharmacy and Almus for Boots, although those two other brands do pop up from time to time in other pharmacies if the Actavis branded box is not available. It has been like this for quite some time, it's nothing new.

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Biddy51

I think it’s just taken a while to filter through to some pharmacies. I was still getting Actavis packaged Levo last month!

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SeasideSusie
SeasideSusieAdministrator
in reply to Biddy51

Actavis is still available, all 3 branded boxes are available, it's just that Northstar and Almus are specifically for those pharmacies I've mentioned, and Actavis for everyone else. I have been having Actavis for years from my pharmacy (Rowlands) and it never changes.

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Hazbabe
Hazbabe
in reply to Biddy51

I take 75mg (50mg and 25mg) the brands are Actavis and Wokhardt. Just like you my pharmacist changed the Wokhardt to Teva. After just taking Teva for a month I kept waking up early feeling nausea and asked Pharmacist if I could change back to Wokhardt. GP had to issue new prescription for remaining month medication but asked if it was just me feeling anxious because they had changed the brand!! I couldn't believe he had asked me that. The next time I had to collect a prescription they had given me Teva again even though it was on my medical notes not to dispense, I returned it and they were able to re-order Wokhardt and I collected it next day. I have not had any feelings of nausea since I changed back.

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Biddy51
Biddy51
in reply to Hazbabe

It’s such a struggle isn’t it. We really should not have this stress. Don’t they realise how poorly we all are! It’s disgusting to be treated like this.

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Biddy51
Biddy51
in reply to Hazbabe

It’s such a struggle isn’t it. We really should not have this stress. Don’t they realise how poorly we all are! It’s disgusting to be treated like this.

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pamelashep
pamelashep
in reply to Biddy51

It is worrying sometimes isn't it. Get other brands are cheaper. Maybe

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Wildwitch51

Hi there. I can only take the Mercury pharma brand. They switched me to actavis a couple of years ago and I reacted really badly. I had a skin rash all over my body and was itching horrifically. The pharmacist has a special note to say that I cannot tolerate anything other than actavis and makes sure I get the right brand. I would take it up with them again

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Chriskisby

Do you have any problems with obtaining Mercury Pharma brand? I seem to be able to get 25mg, but 100mg is very hard to come by from Boots. They have asked my GP to give me 2 prescriptions for 50mg, which they can get, plus a 25mg, so I get my 125mg in total. I am not at all confident in continuing to get these, though. I contacted MP and they denied there was a supply problem. This has been going on for well over a year now.

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Wildwitch51

I tried to get my prescription in boots and they also had an issue with the 50mg ones. I am on 75mg and asked if I could get all 25mg but that request was refused so I just went back to my local pharmacy.

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Chriskisby

Thanks for your reply. I changed GP’s (not by choice, after 40 years my old practice decided I no longer lived in their catchment area!) and the old one had no problems with Mercury Pharma supplies. They had a Weldricks attached to the surgery. My new GP, which also has a Weldricks attached, was unable(?) to get MP, so I had to ring around until I found a pharmacy that could get MP and it was Boots 5 miles away from where I live. Inconvenient, as I have to pay to park, walk into the market square and queue as they are horrendously busy all the time. They are also supposed to text when my prescription is ready, but never do (I really believe they are too busy to do this) so I have to ring to check. So far they have been really obliging, but my heart sinks every month when it is time to collect my prescription. We really don’t need this stress on top of being hypo!!

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Sharoosz
Sharoosz
in reply to Chriskisby

You should be able to get a prescription for two months. I always get that. Would save a little stress!

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Chriskisby
Chriskisby
in reply to Sharoosz

I will try next time.

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Wildwitch51

My gp always gives me 84 tablets so almost 3 months supply.

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Chriskisby

Wow! You are so lucky, that would be ideal! After all, it is not really a months supply, only 28 days. I am seeing the practice nurse tonight (re my cholesterol levels, at their request. I am NOT going on statins, I have enough aches and pains as it is!) so I will see if she thinks I have any chance of getting 3 months prescription as I do not know these GP’s at all, having only been with them for less than a year. My old practice decided I live outside their catchment area after being with them for 40 years!

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Biddy51
Biddy51
in reply to Chriskisby

I have had a few probs in the past, but only in that when I moaned they say they will re order and get it in!

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Chriskisby
Chriskisby
in reply to Biddy51

Me too, isn’t it silly? I wonder if they cost slightly more than the other makes or they get special offers and bonuses for pushing the other makes?

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Biddy51
Biddy51
in reply to Chriskisby

More than likely! And they are putting our health at risk by doing so. 🙈

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Pepekins

So far I have had no problem obtaining MP or Wockhart. I changed from Actavis recently after having a bad reaction to Actavis which I had taken for years. I am in Hertfordshire U.K.

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Smartmam

I could be wrong. In my opinion different supplier with a same ingredients. Or this a different. When I get it from Boots. It's a different made. My local chemist have different supplier.

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Chazzyjp

My mum finds that different brands to what she’s used to can make her poorly and have a reaction, making her coming out in a rash. Please be careful everyone 😊

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Wildwitch51

Yes. An awful itchy rash all over the body!

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Dot-69

Oh yes, this for me is an ongoing nightmare! To the point, from where I'm looking at it, amounts to stupidity, unless I'm not understanding the whole picture. I don't like changing manufacturers, I don't feel well on Mercury so requested Actavis and Wockhardt as I take a total of 75mcg per day. Long story short :- if meds are delivered to you and its another brand, they have to then be destroyed by the pharmacy. If you collect and open them there at pharmacy they can change them. Next, my experience was the pharmacy saying they had no actavis, I said OK make it up with wockhardt... Can't do that, doc prescribed 50mcg must be actavis, 25mcg must be wockhardt! 😡 So instructed doc to say give wockhardt then! Happened again!! Pharmacy said no blister packs Actavis.... We only have them loose in a bottle as sent by Actavis!! WHAT? is it me? So I said well put the correct number in a bottle then I don't care how they come.... Oh OK they said! This nonsense has been ongoing for months! So you may need to keep on and on to get what you need. First get doc to put Actavis on prescription form, hope you get what you want.

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paigegod

Be careful of 'Teva' brand. I have had severe hypothyroid symptoms since taking them. Although all our bodies have their own way of reacting to things, mine didn't react well and my blood results have fluctuated for some time, due to the new brand of Levo.

I keep up-to date with symtoms and side effects by writing notes in my diary of what i experienced and when, thats probably best thing to do and show your doctor if a new brand is effecting you.

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