Brand Name(s):
  • Armour®Thyroid
Other Name(s):
  • Desiccated thyroid
  • thyroid extract
  • thyroid gland
IMPORTANT WARNING

Thyroid hormone should not be used to speed weight loss in people who are overweight but do not have a thyroid condition. Thyroid hormone will not help speed weight loss in people with normal thyroid glands, and it may cause serious or life-threatening side effects in these people. The risk of serious side effects is even higher if thyroid is also taken with amphetamines such as benzphetamine(Didrex), dextroamphetamine([Dexedrine, in Adderall), and methamphetamine (Desoxyn).

Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Thyroid is used to treat the symptoms of hypothyroidism (a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone). Symptoms of hypothyroidism include lack of energy, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, dry coarse hair, muscle cramps, decreased concentration, aches and pains, swelling of the legs, and increased sensitivity to cold. Thyroid is also used to treat goiter (enlarged thyroid gland). Thyroid is in a class of medications called thyroid agents. It works by supplying the thyroid hormone normally produced by the body.

HOW should this medicine be used?

Thyroid comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once a day before breakfast. Take thyroid at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take thyroid exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of thyroid and gradually increase your dose.

Thyroid helps control the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but does not cure this condition. It may take up to several weeks before you notice any change in your symptoms. To control the symptoms of hypothyroidism, you probably will need to take thyroid for the rest of your life. Continue to take thyroid even if you feel well. Do not stop taking thyroid without talking to your doctor.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before taking thyroid,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to thyroid, any other medications, pork, or any of the ingredients in thyroid tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: androgens such as danazol or testosterone; anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin);antidepressants; aprepitant (Emend); carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol);diabetes medications that you take by mouth;, digoxin (Lanoxin); efavirenz (Sustiva); estrogen (hormone replacement therapy) griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grifulvin, Gris-PEG); human growth hormone (Genotropin); insulin; lovastatin (Altocor, Mevacor); nevirapine (Viramune); oral contraceptives containing estrogen; oral steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone, Dexpak), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone); phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton); phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); potassium iodide (contained in Elixophyllin-Kl, Pediacof, KIE); rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate); ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra);salicylate pain relievers such as aspirin and aspirin-containing products, choline magnesium trisalicylate, choline salicylate (Arthropan), diflunisal (Dolobid), magnesium salicylate (Doan's, others), and salsalate (Argesic, Disalcid, Salgesic); strong iodine solution (Lugol's Solution);and theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theolair, Theo-24, Quibron, others).
  • if you take cholestyramine (Questran) or colestipol (Colestid), take it at least 4 hours before taking your thyroid medication. If you take antacids, iron-containing medications or nutritional supplements, simethicone, or sucralfate (Carafate), take them at least 4 hours before or 4 hours after taking your thyroid medication.
  • tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John's wort.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes; osteoporosis; hardening or narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis); cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and fats, angina (chest pain), arrhythmias, or heart attack; malabsorption diseases (conditions that cause a decrease in absorption from the intestine); an underactive adrenal or pituitary gland; or kidney or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking thyroid, call your doctor.
  • talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking thyroid if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take thyroid becasue it is not as safe as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking thyroid.
What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Tell your doctor if you miss two or more doses of thyroid in a row.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Thyroid may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • weight loss
  • shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • hyperactivity
  • anxiety
  • irritability or rapid changes in mood
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • flushing
  • increased appetite
  • fever
  • changes in menstrual cycle
  • muscle weakness
  • temporary hair loss, particularly in children during the first month of therapy

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • rash
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • chest pain
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • excessive sweating
  • sensitivity or intolerance to heat
  • nervousness
  • seizure

Thyroid may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to thyroid.

Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking thyroid.

Thyroid tablets may have a strong odor. This does not mean that the medication is spoiled or that it cannot be used.

Learn the brand name and generic name of your medication. Check your medication each time you have your prescription refilled or receive a new prescription. Do not switch brands without talking to your doctor or pharmacist, as each brand of thyroid contains a slightly different amount of medication.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: February 1, 2011.