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Old 03-11-2014, 03:39 PM   #1
Ronnie51
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Generic synthroid....yay or nay?

Since my thyroid blew up around five years ago, my doctor has prescribed brand name Synthroid for me (50 mcg). At first I was annoyed because of the major difference in price....$15.99 vs. $105 for 90 days. Then I went online and got an education about how important it is to get a constant level of hormone so generics are not recommended in this instance. So, now that I've retired and my husband is planning his retirement, we won't have as much income and will need to cut back in general. So, my question is....should I stay away from generic Synthroid?

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Old 03-11-2014, 03:55 PM   #2
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My mom has been on generic synthroid for a long time without any issues.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:38 PM   #3
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I suspect that this is an individual issue. My experience may be instructive:

I began T4 with Levoxyl, which is a generic form of Synthroid--and I thrived on it for many years. Then a pharmacist talked me into allowing him to substitute Levothyroxine, which is supposedly the same as Levoxyl (he made more profit with the Levothyroxine!), and I was miserable. At the time, my endo assured me that there are no 'identical' meds, and he told me to get back on Levoxyl, which I did. But last year Levoxyl was withdrawn temporarily from the market, and I was really worried because of the previous experience. My endo suggested Synthroid, and I've done just as well with that--I hate having to spend more, but my health is far too important to me to play around with my thyroid hormones.

However, I also take T3 (Cytomel), and when I began, only the brand was available. When the generics arrived, my insurance company insisted that I try the generic, and that didn't work for me AT ALL. Even though the brand is incredibly more expensive for me ($80 vs $10), I use the brand (after my endo applied for approval). I am retired and on a fixed income, but feeling my best means taking the right thyroid Rx, and that's what I try to do, despite the cost.

In general, when taking hormones, the brand is recommended, but sometimes the generic will work for a person, as Levoxyl has for me. Since you have experience of Synthroid, you can try a generic and see how you feel. If it's not a good match for you, you'll notice the difference, but keep in mind that T4 can take 4-6 weeks before you feel the full effect.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:57 AM   #4
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I'm on generics (years ago was on Synthroid) and they work fine for me. Generic T3 also (Mylan only, NOT Paddock).
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:25 AM   #5
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Yes, I see that it is an individual issue. My insurance company has never contacted me about switching to a generic for my Synthroid. I always thought that was because they understood the need to be on a constant level dosage. I'll talk to my doctor on my next appointment. Thank you all for your replies.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:55 AM   #6
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I started out on levothyroxine and did "okay" with it. My levels came into range and I felt better than I had, but not exactly well. My endo recommended trying Synthroid and seeing if it worked any better. I did notice a difference, enough so that I don't mind paying the difference. I think the levothyroxine was around $10 and the Synthroid is around $35 (with my insurance).
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:01 PM   #7
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I have friends on Levothyroxine who do just fine on it. I did NOT!

So moved to Synthroid , paying more for it and tolerated it just fine. And felt a little better than before I had been d'xed, but not a great deal. After about a year, my doc took a good look at my numbers and said, "hmm, this isn't doing the trick, let's try something else." (The problem was, that I was not converting.) So, based on what I had read here, I asked him what he thought about Armour. He thought we should try it so now I am on a grain of Armour a day and doing fine.

I agree with the others that generic drugs can sometimes vary from person to person in their results, and in my case, it was true with the Levothyroxine.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:37 AM   #8
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I have friends on Levothyroxine who do just fine on it. I did NOT!

So moved to Synthroid , paying more for it and tolerated it just fine. And felt a little better than before I had been d'xed, but not a great deal. After about a year, my doc took a good look at my numbers and said, "hmm, this isn't doing the trick, let's try something else." (The problem was, that I was not converting.) So, based on what I had read here, I asked him what he thought about Armour. He thought we should try it so now I am on a grain of Armour a day and doing fine.

I agree with the others that generic drugs can sometimes vary from person to person in their results, and in my case, it was true with the Levothyroxine.
Can you tell me what your numbers were that prompted your doctor to make a change? Were they out of range, or just pushing the limits of normal?
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:32 AM   #9
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Just my experience but I did not do well on generic Synthroid ( levo).
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:24 AM   #10
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Like Leo said, I think it depends on the individual. I've been on Levothyroxine ever since I had a total thyroidectomy last November and my levels have been fine and I feel fine on it.

I had actually been switched from Nature-Throid because I had to change from seeing a nurse practitioner (who prescribed the NT) to an Endocrinologist. The Endo admitted to not knowing much at all about NT and wanted me to try Synthroid. I agreed to try it (but generic) and I don't feel any different than when I was on NT.

I'm fine with staying on it unless I find that it doesn't work anymore.
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:01 PM   #11
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I'm actually afraid to try the generic for fear of rocking the boat. Synthroid has worked well for me and the idea of maybe having my levels disturbed scares me a little. My biggest concern is the fact that pharmacies often change manufacturers, and that can have an effect on your levels even though it's the same generic drug.
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Old 08-18-2014, 03:37 PM   #12
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I am new to all of this, as you know. I have read so much over the weekend I was practically about to go cross eyed. I have read so many different case stories. Some do fine with it others don't. I guess maybe try it and see. I can understand not wanting to rock the boat but there is only one way to find out.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:26 PM   #13
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Old thread.... but...... I had been on Synthroid for 30+ years due to removal of 7/8 of my thyroid. Switched to generic (at Costco) since my insurance refused to cover the cost anymore........ about 4 to 6 months ago..... now I have been losing alot of hair...... switching back to Synthroid. The price sucks.... but... it is what it is.
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Old 09-01-2016, 01:50 PM   #14
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I did well on Levoxyl (a generic) for years, but when it was taken off the market (temporarily), I had a problem with Levothyroxine--didn't work for me. So my endo put me on Synthroid, and I do fine with it.

It's not uncommon to not be able to handle some 'brands.' I've had to get special 'permission' (via my endo) with my insurance company to use the brand rather than the generic.

It's more expensive, but my health is important to me.
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Old 09-01-2016, 03:08 PM   #15
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Hello everyone 2-1/2 years later! I just started Medicare and recently got my first Synthroid prescription on Part D and it was $35 per month. My doctor told me she didn't want me to switch to a generic because of other health issues I'm dealing with, nothing serious, but she felt that if I could afford the Synthroid I should stay on it. We'll see if I get a letter from my insurance company telling me they want me to switch to generic.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:43 PM   #16
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Synthoid for me. I've tried the generic and it didn't work good for me at all!
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:08 AM   #17
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Well..... picked up my synthroid yesterday...... Costco cost was 35.00 for 30 days or 101. for 90 days with their discount. Did not even bother with my insurance since we have been down that road and they could care less if the doc wants it or not. So sick of insurance being able to over ride what a doctor says is needed.
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Old 09-03-2016, 08:09 AM   #18
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I hear you about insurance! I've had several situations where my insurance company refused to allow what my doctor prescribed, and it's incredibly frustrating.

My doctor actually got on the phone with them, and told me later that he was furious because he was being contradicted by 'some clerk' who he suspected was 'reading from a script' rather than dealing with another medical professional.

IMO, high health care costs and poor treatment are directly due to the power of these insurance companies.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:16 AM   #19
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Well..... picked up my synthroid yesterday...... Costco cost was 35.00 for 30 days or 101. for 90 days with their discount. Did not even bother with my insurance since we have been down that road and they could care less if the doc wants it or not. So sick of insurance being able to over ride what a doctor says is needed.
That's around the same price I pay with insurance, I believe I pay around $32.50 per month with Medicare Part D. I will add, however, that I have a deductible to satisfy and the price should drop after that, but all my other meds are generic and do not get applied to the deductible so I don't see that happening. Also, I'm just waiting to hear from my Part D insurance company (Humana) to tell me they want me to go generic. I already had that discussion with my doctor and she wants me to stay on Synthroid.
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:54 AM   #20
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I did well on Levoxyl (a generic) for years, but when it was taken off the market (temporarily), I had a problem with Levothyroxine--didn't work for me. So my endo put me on Synthroid, and I do fine with it.

It's not uncommon to not be able to handle some 'brands.' I've had to get special 'permission' (via my endo) with my insurance company to use the brand rather than the generic.

It's more expensive, but my health is important to me.
Leo, I am very confused about Levoxyl. My insurance company says that Levoxyl is a mid priced brand name drug, not a generic. I can get it for around half what Synthroid costs, but it's almost 4 times as expensive as levothyroxine. I also found an article written by an endocrinologist where he writes:

There are four well-tested, brand name preparations of levothyroxine available in the United States for the treatment of people with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid): Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, and Unithroid.

Did your doctor tell you that Levoxyl is generic?
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Old 10-09-2016, 08:44 AM   #21
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Ronnie-

No, I just assumed Levoxyl was generic because my insurance company classifies it with Levothyroxine--which is generic.

As I may have mentioned, I did great on Levoxyl for almost a decade until it was pulled from the market for a year, and my endo switched me to Synthroid.

Like you, I can get Levoxyl for much less, but I haven't switched back mainly because Cytomel costs me so much that I just don't consider the cost of Synthroid a big deal.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:32 AM   #22
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Ronnie-

No, I just assumed Levoxyl was generic because my insurance company classifies it with Levothyroxine--which is generic.

As I may have mentioned, I did great on Levoxyl for almost a decade until it was pulled from the market for a year, and my endo switched me to Synthroid.

Like you, I can get Levoxyl for much less, but I haven't switched back mainly because Cytomel costs me so much that I just don't consider the cost of Synthroid a big deal.
I'm going to ask my doctor what he thinks about me switching me from Synthroid to Levoxyl. It would save me approximately $200 per year.
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:37 PM   #23
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Ronnie-
If your doctor switches you to Levoxyl, make sure he writes the prescription 'daw'--dispense as written. I mention this because my endo always forgets, and when I was on Levoxyl, my pharmacist once substituted Levothyroxine for my Levoxyl, insisting they were the 'same.'

I don't do at all well with Levothyroxine, as I soon discovered. When I spoke to my insurance company about this to try to make sure it didn't happen again, the agent told me that the pharmacist was being sneaky because the two Rx are considered the same by insurance, BUT the pharmacist makes a bigger profit on the Levothyroxine. She told me that unless the prescription specifies 'daw,' the pharmacist can substitute 'equivalent' Rx--which are, according to my endo, not medically equivalent at all.
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:12 PM   #24
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Thanks, Leo. I've had problems with this since I started getting my prescriptions from Walmart. The only two times I've gotten Synthroid from them, they switched from Synthroid to Levothyroxine. The first time they did it, the prescription was a transfer from another pharmacy, so they just said okay when I told them it was Synthroid. The second time, they said the doctor did not specify it had to be brand name so I had to call the doctor's office and ask them to resend the prescription. This time I will do as you suggest and remind my doctor to check off "Dispense as written". Thanks again!
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Old 10-28-2016, 08:31 PM   #25
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I have been on thyroid meds for about 30 years, I have never done well on generics at all. I get my Synthroid from the VA so it isn't too bad for me cost wise. I am at the point where I have no energy to get up and do hardly anything. My TSH is about .05 so that is good.

I just changed doctors because my last few doctors would not let me try the natural thyroid meds, the VA doctor said she would try to get me the natural thyroid meds but the VA turned it down, so I now have a great doctor who did prescribe the NP Thyroid and I got it just today.

I have heard not so good things about Armour so I am staying away from that brand. Have any of you tried the NP Thyroid meds yet?

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Old 11-04-2016, 09:40 AM   #26
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My doctor agreed to switch me to Levoxyl which is half the price of Synthroid and he checked off "Dispense as Written". Let's hope it works for me.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:47 AM   #27
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Ronnie-
I hope it works for you, too. I did great on Levoxyl. The only reason I don't switch back is that the cost of Synthroid doesn't bother me because I take Cytomel, too--which costs the earth!
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:38 PM   #28
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Thanks, Leo. I guess I'll know if the Levoxyl is working when I have my next blood test. Most people could tell if it's working by how they feel, but when my TSH was over 19 I felt fine! So, I can't go by that.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:12 AM   #29
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Reporting back on NP Thyroid meds. It did not work for me at all, it made me very weak, and I had flu like symptoms and mood swings badly so that is out. I am back on Synthroid but for the last few days I take at bed time and I let it dissolve under my tongue. Before I started taking it at bedtime, I did find out that I should not drink coffee an hour or so after taking the Synthroid in the morning and find it seems to work a little better.

I tried to get a low dosage of Cytomel but it they wanted to give me the generics and I don't do well with generics and the real deal is way beyond my reach so back to square one for me.

Have any of you tried the generic form of Cytomel? Does it work for you?
I had problems with the brand name Cytomel a few years ago, it made my heart go into AFIB so I stopped taking it. I decided to try a smaller dosage, this time, to see if I had any more energy, but the cost stopped that.

I am at the point that the doctor said I was "deconditioning", just another way of saying I am on my way down if things don't change. I am deconditioning because I have no energy to do anything so it looks like if I can't get something to give me some energy it is over for me.

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Old 11-21-2016, 08:49 AM   #30
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Yes, a couple of years ago my insurance company insisted that I switch to the generic Cytomel (no generic when I began taking it), and I was a basket case soon after. My endo was able to get an exception for me to return to the brand.

Your problem with cardiac and Cytomel may have been too high a dosage. Do you remember what you were taking? It's usual to begin at 5 mcg., but a few years ago, there was a misprint in some of the manuals doctors consult for meds, and the 'basic' Cytomel dosage was listed a 25 mcg! Most people would 'react' negatively if begun at that amount.
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