Armour Thyroid vs Synthroid

Which is Better, Synthroid or Armour Thyroid Medication

What is Armour Thyroid? What is Armour Thyroid used for?

Armour Thyroid is a Brand name for a hormone tablets derived from porcine thyroid glands that are used to treat an underactive thyroid gland. This medicine is also used in a prevention of certain types of enlarged thyroid glands and to treat thyroid cancer.  It works by replacing the thyroid hormone when the body does not make enough on its own.  Hormones provide 38 mcg of levothyroxine (T4) and 9 mcg of liothyronine (T3) per grain of thyroid.   This product should never be used to treat obesity or weight problems. Armour thyroid indications are:

Replacement or supplemental therapy in patients with hypothyroidism, except transient hypothyroidism during the recovery phase of subacute thyroiditis. This category includes myxedema,  cretinism and ordinary hypothyroidism, primary hypothyroidism as a cause of functional deficiency, partial or total absence of thyroid gland,  primary atrophy or the side effects after surgery, radiation, or  taken drugs, with or without the presence of goiter; and also secondary (pituitary), or tertiary (hypothalamic) hypothyroidism

Use as a pituitary TSH suppressants, in the prevention or treatment of different types of euthyroid goiters, including thyroid nodules, multinodular goiter, subacute or chronic Iymphocytic thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) and management of thyroid cancer.

Armour Thyroid is available in tablet form in following doses: 15 mg, 30 mg, 60 mg, 90 mg, 120 mg, 180 mg, 240 mg and 300 mg.

What is Synthroid? What is Synthroid used for?

Synthroid is a Brand name for a medicine that contains synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine as an active ingredient. It is used as a replacement therapy to treat hypothyroidism and different conditions in which the thyroid gland can’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Synthroid’s structured FDA approved indications are:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Myxedema coma
  • Euthyroid Goitre
  • Thyrotropin dependent Thyroid cancer

Synthroid is available in tablet for in following doses: 25 mcg, 50 mcg, 75 mcg, 88 mcg, 100 mcg, 112 mcg, 125 mcg, 137 mcg, 150 mcg, 175 mcg, 200 mcg and 300 mcg. Levothyroxine has been available in the United States since the 1950s, but the FDA didn’t approve it until 2000.

Differences and similarities between Armour Thyroid and Synthroid

Natural vs. Synthetic Thyroid Medications

Many patients suffer from hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. Armour Thyroid and Synthroid are most popularly prescribed medicines to treat this disorder. One of many differences between these two medicines is for sure their way of produce.  Armour Thyroid is considered as a “natural” preparation in which is thyroid hormone extracted from pigs, while Synthroid is considered as a synthetic substance.  Since Armour Thyroid is “natural” it is more likely biologically compatible with humans compared to a synthetic Synthroid. However, studies and results find that Synthroid is considered safe and effective in humans. But, it is very hard to tell which one is better because certain patients may respond better to Armour Thyroid, while others may have significantly more therapeutic benefit from Synthroid.

Armour Thyroid and Synthroid have many similarities. Both are used as a replacement therapy and work by imitating neurophysiological effects of endogenously T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). They modulate DNA transcription, protein synthesis and basal metabolic rate, tissue oxygenation and lipolysis. Both products are approved for same indications and have similar side effects profiles. Their half-lives are also the same and are 6-7 days after administration.

Synthroid is older medicine than Armour Thyroid and has undergone widespread clinical testing for hypothyroidism treatment and it has been considered clinically effective by the FDA since 2002.  Randomized controlled trials have been showed that Synthroid is far effective than placebo. Unlike Synthroid, Armour Thyroid formulations have not been formally yet evaluated by the FDA.  Since, there is a lack of clinical studies, Armour Thyroid efficacy as a treatment for hypothyroidism is still questionable.  However, there are some studies with evidence that Armour Thyroid is equally as effective as Synthroid for the treatment of hypothyroidism.  Most health professionals will tell that each medicine is capable of improving TSH, T4, and T3 levels.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the Royal College of Physicians suspect that side effects are more likely to be caused during Armour Thyroid thrapy than Synthroid.  There are severe reasons why Armour Thyroid may provoke side effects such as: ratio of T4 to T3 (significantly different from endogenous ratios in humans), inter-batch variability and the lack of clinical trials for FDA approval.  Also studies have been found that Armour Thyroid will more likely cause moderate weight loss of approximately 3 lbs, while Synthroid doesn’t cause weight lose.

Armour Thyroid  vs  Synthroid side effects

Armour Thyroid possible side effects Synthroid possible side effects
TachycardiaAngina pectoris
AlopeciaArthralgia
MyalgiaCongestive heart failure
ArrhythmiasFlushing
NervousnessIncreased pulse
TremorMyocardial infarction
DiarrheaPalpitations
CrampsArrhythmias
Cramps
Diarrhea
Nervousness
Anxiety
Choking sensation
Emotional lability
Headache
Heat intolerance
Insomnia
Myasthenia
Pseudomotor cerebri
Alopecia
Weight loss
Infertility
Dyspnea
Fever
Tachycardia
Tremor
Decreased bone mineral density

Which one is expensive  Armour Thyroid  or Synthroid

According to drugs.com:

·     The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 15 mg is around $59 for a supply of 100 tablets

·     The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 30 mg is around $68 for a supply of 100 tablets

×          The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 60 mg is around $24 for a supply of 30 tablets

×          The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 90 mg is around $104 for a supply of 100 tablets

×          The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 120 mg is around $34 for a supply of 100 tablets

×          The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 180 mg is around $117 for a supply of 100 tablets

×          The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 240 mg is around $141 for a supply of 100 tablets

×          The cost for Armour Thyroid tablets 300 mg is around $165 for a supply of 100 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 25 mcg tablets is around $100 for a supply of 90 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 50 mcg tablets is around $30 for a supply of 30 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 75 mcg tablets is around $32 for a supply of 30 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 88 mcg tablets is around $92 for a supply of 90 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 100 mcg tablets is around $38 for a supply of 30 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 112 mcg tablets is around $94 for a supply of 90 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 125 mcg tablets is around $36 for a supply of 30 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 137 mcg tablets is around $109 for a supply of 90 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 150 mcg tablets is around $32 for a supply of 30 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 175 mcg tablets is around $40 for a supply of 30 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 200 mcg tablets is around $108 for a supply of 90 tablets

×          The cost for Synthroid 300 mcg tablets is around $121 for a supply of 90 tablets

Prices depend on the pharmacy you visit. Prices are for cash paying customers only and are not valid with insurance plans.

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About Miljan Krcobic 168 Articles
My name is Miljan Krčobić. I was born on 14th of November 1989. in Negotin, Serbia, where I finished elementary and high school. In June 2015 I graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy in Belgrade and thus acquired the title Master of Pharmacy. From the July of 2015 to January 2016 I worked in a pharmaceutical company Hemofarm a.d.(Member of STADA group) based in Vrsac, Serbia, as an expert associate for GMP compliance within the sector Quality Assurance. I am currently working in a pharmacy called Zivkovic in Negotin. As a freelancer I write medical articles on Elance and Upwork.