Some patients won't substitute the branded drug for a generic, because it does not makes any effect. Why does this happens?
Why in some cases levothyroxine is not as effective as Synthroid?
Question posted by Solange319 on 14 Nov 2012
Last updated on 30 September 2019 by LaFloyd
Years ago I encountered this difference between generic and Synthroid. I'm surprised to see that the discrepancy in performance still persists. Generics may work for some but probably not all. Be prepared to switch to Synthroid if the generic isn't getting the job done.
When first diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I had a 30/day sample of Synthroid with much success. My initial paid script was the generic version; the side effects were horrible within two weeks. When the script was changed to "no substitute" my system returned to normal. Due to insurance cost issues, the script was again changed to the generic with the same negative side effects. My doctor marked the script "no substitute" and notified the insurance company that it was a medical necessity. I haven't had any bad side effects since taking the brand name Synthroid and my thyroid numbers have remained stable.
When I asked my doctor what the difference was, he stated that it could be something in the binding agent or a difference in the formulation of the brand name vs. the generic.
I have been on Synthroid for 25 years with very little problems. My insurance sent me a letter that I should use the generic Levothyroxine so my doctor gave me a prescription. I took it for almost 3 months and started having heart palpitations. I went to my doctor and he did a EKG and blood work. My TSH was 15.37 so he changed my Levothyroxine from 112 mg to 137 mg. I have never had such an increase or decrease in my TSH in 25 years. Also, I could have had a heart attack and died just so the insurance company could save a few dollars. When I go back to my doctor, I am going to ask if he will put me back on synthroid.
I’ve been on generic for several years and levothyroxine has not gotten my levels down to the normal zone. My doctor switched me to Synthroid, so we will retest in 3 months to see if it works better.
Generics are not always exact copies of the original drug. Generics are required to contain the same active ingredients, but the FDA allows results to vary 15-25% from the original drug. My doctor told me that the maker of Synthroid never patented the drug in the US. I verified this by googling Synthroid patent - zero US patents. His belief is that there was something about the ingredients and manufacturing process that was so proprietary that Synthroid believed nobody would be able to duplicate it. By not applying for a patent, they would never be required to reveal their exact recipe and manufacturing method. This is only a theory. I’ll update you in a few months to let you know if the real Synthroid worked for me.
I have been on Synthroid for years. One time the pharmacy gave me Levothyroxine I never asked for it after about 2 months did not feel good at all. Went back on Synthroid, I felt much better. Now years later my insurance will not cover synthroid switched to Levothyroxine I am feeling terrible. Going to bite the bullet and just buy Synthroid between 50-60 bucks. It will be well worth it. I just can't handle the generic brand. good luck!!
I learned that some of the fillers are lactose based and others pose a potential allergic reaction that can minimize the effects of the full dose causing inaccuracies. For me, it was an automatic weight gain and puffiness in the face, etc. I am a lean, fit person so this was very distressing.
I've been taking Levothyroxine since my thyroid was removed about 8 years ago, I've never loved it but its been OK and still seem to feel better than some on it. Recently my chemist was out of generic and gave me Synthroid instead which i was OK with because i've read it works really well for some, I've been on it two weeks and feel terrible, my brain feels like its miles away and I'm going thru the day on autopilot. Does it take a few weeks for a new brand to stabilize or should i be going to change back now?
I've been on thyroid replacement for over 12 years now and my doc and I have noticed a HUGE difference in the way they act. The biggest difference to me is that, while generic drugs are required to have the same active drug ingredients as the name brand in the same amount, it's the "inactive" ingredients that make the difference here.
I have found, and my doctor reached the same conclusion, that levothyroxine releases all of the TSH over a period of 6-8 hours, then you go 16-18 hours with no TSH. Synthroid releases it's TSH over a period of 16-18 hours so when it's reaching the period where it's not in your bloodstream any more, it's time for your next morning dose.
For this reason my mail order pharmacy fills all orders, generic or not, with name brand Synthroid. If the scrip is written for name brand only my co-pay is $85 for 90 days. If it allows generic substitute then it's $17 co-pay. I get the same bottle either way.
However, if I take it to a brick-and-morter version of the same pharmacy then I get generic levothyroxine.
I too have been taking levothyroxine for years didn't feel good for years. I am now on Synthroid and it changed my life for the better.
My doc decided to switch me from the generic to Synthroid just yesterday. I did not request or mention it. She thinks it will work better and not cause so much hair loss. I've been on the levo for 2 months. My numbers have improved but hair loss is troubling. Will report back after 2 months on the Synthroid! These forums are great!
OK. I'm new here found this forum because I have stopped taking levothyroxine after it caused painful inflammation of my thyroid. I stopped going to see the doc for couple of months and decided to go see her. She blood tested me and said I had no thyroid activity and I told her that the levothyroxine had quit working and I was getting all the side effects :Moody, weight gain, and swollen thyroid. She wrote me a script for synthroid so I will be starting those tomorrow. I am happy to read that some of you have been feeling better with the synthroid. I believe that a body can build a resistance against some pharmaceuticals after detecting that they are synthetic. Levothyroxine worked for two years before it backfired so hopefully Synthroid will take care of me at least for a few years.
When I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism, my dr prescribed Synthroid, and almost immediately I felt different. I had energy again, my mood was different, I no longer felt anxiety and constant tension, and I lost 30 pounds in 3 months without changing anything diet or exercise wise. I had zero problems maintaining my weight while on Synthroid (I'm a naturally thin person, so my weight gain was one thing that prompted me to have my thyroid checked to begin with.) Several years ago, my pharmacy automatically filled my prescription with Levoxythyroxine during a refill and I didn't catch it for a while. I didn't notice a difference in mood, energy, or weight gain so I continued to take the generic form.
The change was so gradual, it took me 4 years to pinpoint that the Levoxythyroxine had caused me to regain the weight, my energy levels plummeted, and my mood was back to constant anxiety and tension, like I wasn't even on medication. I have had so many life changes over the past 4 years (got married, had 2 babies, started my own business, and moved out out of state) that I chalked it all up to those things. My blood work always came back fine. Within the past 3 months, I finally pinpointed that the Levoxythyroxine was the problem and my dr switched me back to Synthroid. My mood and energy level changed almost instantaneous. It's too soon to tell with the weight gain/loss, but just the difference in the way I feel on Synthroid, I will never go back to taking generic. It just is not the same and does not work for me.
Are you saying the generic is not as efficent as the brand name?
Wow, after reading these replies I think
I'll try to insist on Synthroid. Knowing the Insurance providers, it will probaby require a letter from my MD to get the real thing, right? I've felt for a while my symptoms were not well controlled-this could be why! I'm often cold when no one else is and my hair falls out-a lot! My blood tests are always in normal range, however. I've read that one must be insistent in requesting a dosage change if one's health care provider doesn't acknowledge that tests don't always tell the whole story with hypothyroidism. Is there a good alternative to Synthroid or is about the only game in town?
You guys are all the best!! Love knowing the Community is always here for me. :))
I only get Synthroid myself. I don't take a chance with the Generic in this case since I think we go through enough of up and downs with our Thyroids we don't need any other problems.
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