Different brand of levothyroxine

I tend to be given the same brand of levo each month as I stick to the same pharmacy and so far they have worked very well. However recently I was given a different brand, can't remember the name as I threw them out eventually. I felt so ill, my bp went up and my gp told me rest completely. I suddenly realised that the symptoms had come on after starting the new tablets so I got a new prescription and made sure I got my old brand. Very quickly things improved and I'm now back to normal. When I mentioned it to my GP on my next check up, he said although the ingredients should always be the same, it has been known for cheaper brands to affect people. Has anyone else experienced this?

20 Replies

  • It is NOT a matter of "cheaper" brands.

    We have just THREE makes of levothyroxine tablet in the UK. Wockhardt, Mercury Pharma and Actavis.

    Some people react differently to the three makes.

    Go here and read about them:


    It is probably a good idea to try to stick to the same make because there are differences which you avoid by not changing. But sometimes there is no choice due to supply issues.


  • The brand they gave me last time was a foreign brand and none of the above. There again I live in the Channel Islands so not part of the UK so maybe they are able to bring in drugs that the UK don't? No idea. I usually do have tablets from the range you mention though and I am fine with them.

  • I am sorry I have no idea about non-UK regulation, brands (in general), etc.

    The main Thyroid UK site does have some details of a few non-UK brands.

  • I had problems too with different brands. I spoke to my friendly pharmacist and she suggested giving me Goldshield (Eltroxin brand - always in stock) if I payed the difference on the script - this works out about £1 every couple of months. I am happy with this as I get a guaranteed supply of the same medicine.

  • So we are entitled to free 'scripts as a thyroid patients. But if you want a different brand you are charged? What happens then if you have a 'script for something and the pharmacy sub a cheaper brand,do you get cash back?

  • I didn't get on with activis felt dreadful it was only when I went to a different pharmacy and they gave me Goldshield that I realised It was the other brand that had been affecting me.

  • I have a big problem with this whole subject. I have just had a long conversation with Mercury Pharma trying to drill down into exactly what is going on and not get fobbed off with the C--- they are giving out.

    For a start they are saying that there is a manufacturing problem with the Brand Eltroxin of 25mcg and 50mcg but have stocks of 100mcg until they run out. However they have the levothyroxin generic which IS EXACTLY THE SAME as the Brand.

    So I asked these questions:

    1. Why would a company make a Brand and a Generic that is EXACTLY the same thing and go to the trouble and expense of putting them in different packages unless it was economically viable for them to do so?

    2. How can you have a manufacturing problem with one tablet, be it 25mcg or 50mcg or Brand or Generic if as they tell me they are EXACTLY the same tablets with EXACTLY the same ingredients? If that was the case there would be a problem with the generic as well as the brand?

    Strangely when I asked the latter question they were not able to answer it...hmmm but the answer to the first was that it was a "management decision. Perhaps thats because they can sell the brand for more than a generic!!

    I smell something really quite smelly here which as usual the patients are being taken for a ride on. Either these tablets are the same or they are not and if they are then they cant have a manufacturing problem on the same tablet that just gets put in a different named box!

    I will let you know what they come back with but Im not giving up till I get to the bottom of this. My terrier teeth are out.. :-)

  • Just had a call back from Mercury. They have been informed by the "Business Manager" that the reason behind the shortage of the Brand Eltroxin is because a business decision was made to stop production of the Brand to concentrate on the generic because there is a huge demand for it. I was not told when production of the Brand would re-start. I was invited to write into the Business Manager for the answers to these questions which I fully intend to do. I also intend to ask why they would make two identical tablets and distribute and market one as a Brand and one as a Generic and if, which I suspect, they have an intention to phase out the Brand in the UK in favour of the Generic so that the Brand can be sold to markets abroad where it can attract higher revenues.

  • A valid question

  • I'll be very interested in their replies :)

  • so what's the best one - a generic or brand? I have my 100's in Actavis and my 25s in either Wockhardt or Goldshield. Been on Goldshield recently and felt like crap despite bloodwork being in limits. Recently upped my dose and now T4 wildly out but feel good? Could it be the Goldshield?

  • 25mcg have to be Wockhardt or Mercury Pharma as Actavis do not make any in that dosage.

    If it says "Goldshield" do check the date on the pack.

  • Actavis gave me stomach ache, but Goldshield and generic are fine.

  • What do you mean by generic?

  • My 100s are actavis and my 25s are Wockhardt. No problems with them :)

    Thank you all for your input. It's interesting to see that I'm not alone in finding a difference when taking other brands.

  • I've been on Actavis 100 and Goldshield, back on Wockhardt tonight. Hopefully I'll get better. She offered me Mercury Pharm but never heard of them? Goldshield 25s just taste absolutely vile.

  • Last year the company Goldshield renamed themselves Mercury Pharma.

    So all products there were labelled Goldshield either have been or will in future be labelled Mercury Pharma.

    There are NO changes whatsoever associated with this change of name.


  • What you say makes perfect sense and there is a definite difference in some people when taking different brands. I was interested to read that you can only get 2 months of drugs? Here I have 3 months prescriptions given and occasionally 4 months if my gp will be away for my next check up for weight, bp etc.. I have yearly blood tests and urine tests done. how does this compare to others?

  • Gosh where I am (Hertfordshire) I can only get one month at a time. Has been like that for years. I was amazed when I was in Scotland some years ago, had to use my brother's doctor to renew my monthly prescription and got a three month supply of everything I was taking.

  • The MHRA report can be downloaded from here:



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