Northstar : Hi everyone I posted a few days back... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

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Lynne75 profile image

Hi everyone I posted a few days back in reference to my chemist giving me Teva brand instead of wockhardt.I did ring up and they said they could swap them.

Today i had to ask my mam to return the Teva brand and collect my original choice,but I’ve now been giving northstar and according to the pharmacist I will be fine as a lot of pharmaceutical companies are merging at the moment.

I hate being messed about with brands,all it takes is one ingredient that is different to tip my anxiety over the edge!

41 Replies

Be aware that Northstar 25mcg tablets are actually Teva , however Northstar 50mcg and 100mcg tablets are Accord

just realised if you usually have wockhardt you must be talking about 25mcg tablets, cos that's all they make. So your chemist has just taken back Teva tablets in a box that says Teva on tho outside and given you some of exactly the same make Teva tablets that come in a box that says Northstar on the outside....

Take them back (again) and point out to the chemist that inside the Northstar 25mcg box are Teva 25mcg tablets.

Hopefully they'll be so embarrassed by their mistake that they will be more helpful in getting what you asked for in the first place.

Northstar are not a manufacturer, they just box up tablets made by other manufacturers

Lynne75 profile image
Lynne75 in reply to tattybogle

According to my chemist wockhardt and northstar are the same tablet,but the ingredients are slightly different,I have no wockhardt left so I’m kind of unsure what to do in the morning

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator in reply to Lynne75

Wockhardt are NOT the same as Teva

Pharmacist is ill informed

Teva contains mannitol and upsets many people

List of different brands available in U.K. and ingredients

Suggest you delay taking 25mcg in morning…..and get Wockhardt from pharmacy tomorrow… may need to take prescription to a different pharmacy

Presumably this is Lloyds as they gave you Northstar

Small independent pharmacies are often more helpful

New guidelines for GP and pharmacies if you find it difficult/impossible to change brands

If a patient reports persistent symptoms when switching between different levothyroxine tablet formulations, consider consistently prescribing a specific product known to be well tolerated by the patient.

Physicians should: 1) alert patients that preparations may be switched at the pharmacy; 2) encourage patients to ask to remain on the same preparation at every pharmacy refill; and 3) make sure patients understand the need to have their TSH retested and the potential for dosing readjusted every time their LT4 preparation is switched (18).

Levothyroxine is an extremely fussy hormone and should always be taken on an empty stomach and then nothing apart from water for at least an hour after

Many people take Levothyroxine soon after waking, but it may be more convenient and perhaps more effective taken at bedtime

Levothyroxine is a storage hormone….so you could take double the dose wednesday if you can’t get sorted tomorrow

Lynne75 profile image
Lynne75 in reply to SlowDragon

Thank you I used an independent chemist in my town for my prescription,ive just rang Tesco pharmacy to query it and they said yes ingredients maybe slightly different but I would be fine.Why can’t they just give me what I asked for?

tattybogle profile image
tattybogle in reply to Lynne75


Give the above reference to the chemist and ask them to read page 2,3 and 4.

They should be aware of it anyway, but they obviously haven't been keeping up with the official information sent them . And they really should have known that Northstar 25mcg is made by Teva .

if you really cant get to the chemist before you need to take some Levo , then you'll have to have one of the Teva , but if it was me i'd put off taking the Levo for a few hours and go back to the chemist and request they sort you out with something that isn't Teva .

If they won't/can't then ask for your prescription back to take to another chemist who will be more helpful.

It's a nuisance yes , but so is two months of feeling rubbish if Teva doesn't agree with you .

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Lynne75

What is wrong with these pharmacists?

It is NOT difficult to check these things. Preferably before effectively lying to patients.

If the ingredients are different they are, umm - how difficult is this?, different. Not the same. Feels like a re-run of a dead parrot sketch.

helvella - Thyroid Hormone Medicines

I have created, and try to maintain, a document containing details of all thyroid hormone medicines in the UK and, in less detail, many others around the world.

We do get quite a number of posts where people have had lots of help and good advice from pharmacists. Then we read this sort of absolute rubbish. I'm sure some pharmacists would be embarrassed by the behaviour of other pharmacists.

RedApple profile image
RedAppleAdministrator in reply to helvella

helvella, 'If the ingredients are different they are, umm - how difficult is this?, different. '

Nope, that's where you're wrong! They all contain levothyroxine, so they are all the same. I distinctly remember being told this by several pharmacists around fifteen years ago. Seriously... ,<sigh>, I really thought we had moved on from this, but apparently not <sigh>

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to RedApple

Thank you, RedApple - perhaps we'd save a whole lot of bother by all taking sugar pills? Could brand them all "Placebo". Then next year, "New Improved Placebo".

Maybe ask a couple of questions:

As you are telling me this is because of companies merging or taking over other companies, please tell me which companies are involved?

Please show me the Patient Information Leaflets for the products concerned so I can check the product licence number and ingredients? (If the PL is not the same, the product is not the same.)

tattybogle profile image
tattybogle in reply to RedApple

if you're wondering what that noise is , it's me , banging a dead parrot against a chemists head to see which one will wake up first .

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator in reply to tattybogle


Levo50 profile image
Levo50 in reply to Lynne75

Look on the side of your North Star box this will tell you if they are TEVA (usually have pink on the North Star box) or Accord

Also I recommend looking on the actual blister strip of your tablets to see what is printed - mine are Accord (sometimes Activas same thing), I never take TEVA but they often prescribe, I’ve just returned a wad!

Good luck

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Levo50


But if the pharmacist tells you that Teva and Accord have merged, or one taken over the other, you could easily be confused.

Levo50 profile image
Levo50 in reply to helvella


Please don’t tell me TEVA & Accord have merged?

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Levo50

I was picking up the company names behind the original post - Teva and the maker of Northstar (at least, in 50 and 100 micrograms dosages), Accord.

No Teva and Accord have NOT merged.

Accord is a UK subsidiary of the Indian company Intas.

And any pharmacist who effectively claims they have merged (which is how the original post reads) is committing the serious error of misinforming their customer.

SlowDragon profile image

This is EXACTLY why the government had to issue these guidelines….because ill informed pharmacies and medics have been gaslighting patients for decades

It’s well known many patients can’t tolerate different brands ……especially Teva

SlowDragon profile image

How much levothyroxine are you currently taking

Looking at previous posts you started on 50mcg

Bloods should be retested 6-8 weeks after each dose change

Dose is increased slowly upwards in 25mcg steps until TSH is always under 2

Most people when adequately treated will have Ft4 at least 60% through range

Essential to regularly retest vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 too

Are you currently taking any vitamin supplements

When were vitamin levels last tested

Lynne75 profile image
Lynne75 in reply to SlowDragon

I’m still on 50 I’m getting my bloods tested at the end of October. I don’t take any vitamins and I don’t know when they were last tested. I’m not happy starting this brand tomorrow

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator in reply to Lynne75

Try different pharmacies - ring around.

See who has Wockhardt

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to SlowDragon

My document has information on how to locate pharmacies in all four of the nations of the UK:

helvella - Vade Mecum for Thyroid

The term vade mecum means:

1. A referential book such as a handbook or manual.

2. A useful object, constantly carried on one’s person.

My earlier abbreviations and acronyms document worked quite well. The problem I saw was that I had created numerous other documents. And members simply did not know they existed.

By combining several documents, I have produced a considerable collection of information in a single document. Hence the name. To a large extent, it is a book of lists.

I had to make lots of design decisions and one of them was to reduce the margins to almost nothing. This means that it is not ideally formatted for printing. I hope (and expect) most members will actually use it on a phone, tablet or computer.

Not everything is in this one document - my major medicines document is still separate!

To begin with, the old documents will still be available but I shall edit each one to indicate that they are no longer being updated.

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator in reply to Lynne75

Bloods should be retested 6-8 weeks after starting on levothyroxine

Likely to need next dose increase in levothyroxine up to 75mcg after next blood test

Request vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 are tested as well

Plus thyroid antibodies if not already been tested yet

About 90% of primary hypothyroidism is autoimmune thyroid disease diagnosed by high thyroid antibodies

Anxiety and migraines are extremely common hypothyroid symptoms

I feel for you!I ended up in AE after a change in brand and made my mind up that I would simply not accept any other brand. 3 times in a row he has tried to give me alternatives and I have refused them. This time he, again, gave me a different brand and when I told him I wanted Mercury he said he could not get any and that the manufacturer only made batches of 25s a few times a year and they had run out.

I said that was a real shame and that I would phone the manufacturer to ask them what was happening and where I could get supplies from.

Before I had got home he had phoned to say that, mysteriously, he had found some and would have them in the next day.

I strongly believe that the pharmacists profits are involved in this. Particularly if they are a large chain and can get discounts on certain brands. Stand your ground!

tattybogle profile image
tattybogle in reply to Mollyfan

well said.

Sorry for the long post ..........Im also having the same trouble with my chemist , I take 100mg of Levo I had the brand Actavis for years no problems then i was given Teva about 3/4 yrs ago which made me very ill ,I also tried a couple of other brands still had some side effects,

So my Dr wrote on my repeat prescription Actavis brand only ,But as the Actavis is now Accord my chemist keeps giving me different brands saying he cant get Actavis ive told him Accord took them over but to no avail , I have tried to take these but get very brand side effects ie Sweating, headaches. itching, fatigue.palpatations ( I am already on meds for AF ) last month i had Northstar i was fine as made by Accord this month Mercury Pharma which i dont tolerate so i returned them and explained i can only take a Brand made by Accord so he exchanged them for Northstar but here is the propblem I started taking the tabs last week and the Hyper symptoms started on inspecting inside the Nortstar box 1 strip was Accord but the rest was cut off odds and ends of Mercury Pharma to make up the box quantity which i had begun taking a few days before ( never thought they would put mixed brands in the box ) I returned them only to be told they cant just order certain brands which i know not to be true, So yesterday i rang my Doctors to asked him to change the wording on my prescriptions to Accord brand only instead of Actavis and explained was was happening at the chemist giving me different brands ..... At teatime i received a call from my Drs surgery to say my Doctor has updated my Prescription and if I have any more problems with the chemist in future to Phone my Dr . Im lucky to have a very understanding good GP

thyreoidea profile image
thyreoidea in reply to bopalina

I use Boots and insist on Almus which used to be Activis but is actually now accord inside. When I order a repeat prescription online I make a note against the medications to which brand I want, mostly they get it right but I still check before leaving the Boots pharmacy just in case.

The surgery at my request have now said they have changed my records/prescriptions to include the brand. I have refused to have part made up cartons as the date and batch numbers are inevitably missing, all meds now seem to be sealed cartons with a strip over the ends.

I find Boots where I live very helpful and will try to accommodate where possible by ordering in anything they do not have at the time.

Partner20 profile image
Partner20 in reply to thyreoidea

Accord, formerly Actavis, manufactures levo for Boots under the Almus branding. Both the brand and manufacturer are found on the box, the blister strip has the manufacturer info.

thyreoidea profile image
thyreoidea in reply to Partner20

Thanks, Useful info about Boots I was not aware of.

Tintin0202 profile image
Tintin0202 in reply to bopalina

I have had the same problems with brands. It all started with Teva and I felt very ill. I was then given Activis which I used to tolerate but it was Accord inside and that did not agree with me either. All the brands I tried caused side effects and in desperation I did some research and read that liquid thyroxine was more suitable for some patients with side effects from the excipients in pills. So I eventually asked the Dr to put me onto liquid thyroxine which was given grudgingly as it is far more expensive. But I seem to tolerate it better, although it is a fiddle measuring out the liquid through a syringe to get the correct dose. As soon as I stopped the pills I felt better - but the liquid contains parahyrdoxybenzoate which also has side effects for some people. Hope you get something that suits you - the side effects make you feel really awful!

Hi Lynne75, what brand is on the actual foil packet inside your box of original tablets as may Companies actually contain someone else’s tablets.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to thyreoidea

You do not have to open the pack. It says on the card outer. Will refer to PL or MAH company name.

The attached image is old so says "Actavis" - current packs say "Accord". (Actavis changed name to Accord some years ago.)

Image of splat of old Almus pack
thyreoidea profile image
thyreoidea in reply to helvella

Thanks, did not notice this earlier. I do have a thing about batch numbers though and Almus have had some strange ones recently like AXAT and ATA.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to thyreoidea

I think the X means it is a specially monitored batch - but no idea why there have been some odd batch numbers.

thyreoidea profile image
thyreoidea in reply to helvella

I checked with the manufacturer and they said the same, there seems to have been a lot of these batches since Accord appeared on the blister packs, probably being produced somewhere else.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to thyreoidea

I don't think so - the documentation has to say if it is imported or the manufacturer is not the Marketing Authorisation Holder.

The Patient Information Leaflet says:

Marketing Authorisation Holder and


Accord, Barnstaple, EX32 8NS, UK

I suspect it is related to the crumbling issue which has been going on for a long time - but hasn't usually been as bad as recently.

thyreoidea profile image
thyreoidea in reply to helvella

Sorry, I meant at a different production plant.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to thyreoidea

Yes - that is possible. In addition to Barnstaple, they opened up in Fawdon in 2018:

Hi Lynne. I have the same problem. Many of us have. On the phone I asked my GP to specify the brand I need, and I also spoke to the pharmacist but to no avail. It’s obvious from comments from so many people on thyroid groups that having different brands messes us up. Some people get on ok with generic only but for many of us it doesn’t work because different pharmaceutical companies use different bulking agents and different levels of bulking agents. And not only that… blood tests results can also be affected by this. So frustrating !!!

tattybogle profile image
tattybogle in reply to Fabz14

I used to have a lovely chemist , usually got same brand Levo without asking, only an occasional change in 10 years, health was stable so i never thought anything about it....moved GP's to one with a big chain chemist attached to the surgery and kept getting different brand every time.. health went downhill , started to notice that i often felt less good when on Teva , so eventually i asked chemist to write a note on their computer saying "NO Teva" , they agreed , but still i often got given Teva , they obviously didn't look before filling prescription , or decided it just didn't matter. Never an apology , if i questioned it i always got a patronising reply, always the inference that i was making a fuss about nothing and causing them problems for no reason.

"it's all the same , it's only you ... everybody else is fine on all of them.... we can't do our own ordering we just get whatever we are sent from head office .... well we'll change them this time but it means we have to throw those away now... there are starving children in Africa who'd be glad of these .... " (well ok, i made that last one up... but really )... it makes you doubt your own sanity

Then one day , i'd been feeling good for a couple of months , it was really busy in there, they had a big queue of other patients complaining that they hadn't got this, that or the other, and already had to come back twice etc ...... and i looked in the bag before i left the shop, noticed Teva inside again and just thought "oh sod it, i feel fine , and it probably is all in my head anyway, and i really don't want to spoil today by having another patronising encounter , so i'll just take them"

Big mistake .. within a week i felt a bit crap again, within 2 weeks i'd lost my 'feel good factor' completely.

After that i trusted myself more. And decided to look for another chemist who might be more helpful .. i found one .

Nobody has looked over their glasses or raised an eyebrow for 2 years now .. it's become a pleasant experience with decent service again.

yes, fair enough maybe big chemist chains can't order in specific brands very easily .. so maybe that means it's best to find a smaller independent chemist who will no doubt be glad of you repeat business... but there's NO EXCUSE for all the raised eyebrows and 'gaslighting' that is still going on.


Nice updated its guidelines in May this year, you can now request the gp puts the brand on the prescription. I asked mine and they said they’d look into it and then my prescription changed to have Mercury Pharma listed now on the prescription.

Thank you all for your advice,I stuck to my guns and rang the chemist this morning and miraculously they had my brand by teatime x

tattybogle profile image
tattybogle in reply to Lynne75

Good for you :)

It's funny ... there been quite a ;lot of these miraculous appearances at chemists recently .. perhaps we should inform the Vatican.

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