An important PSA for Levothyroxine (Synthroid)

Have you ever switched from a brand medication to generic medication? Or between different generic manufacturers of the medication? 

The answer is likely yes. For some people, the switch is simply a result of what their insurance covers or their pharmacist hands them. For others, it’s a conscious method of saving money. 

In general, this kind of switching is fine! But it’s important to note that there are certain medications where consistency is strongly advised.   One of the most commonly cited examples is levothyroxine (Synthroid), a prescription drug used to treat hypothyroidism. Below, we go over why this is the case, and how you can ensure you are getting the full benefit of your levothyroxine without unwanted side effects.

Not all drugs are the same

Per the FDA rules, manufacturers of levothyroxine (Synthroid) must ensure the potency stays between 95% and 105%. This small range of variation accounts for normal differences in manufacturing from different drug makers. For example:

  • Manufacturer A: levothyroxine potency is 95%
  • Manufacturer B: levothyroxine potency is 105%

One manufacturer is not better than the other. And while for many other prescription drugs, a small variation won’t affect you, it can have a big effect when it comes to drugs with a “narrow therapeutic index” like levothyroxine. If you switched from Manufacturer A to Manufacturer B, that 10% change in potency might cause the medication to give you serious side effects or fail to properly treat your thyroid issue. 

For levothyroxine, consistency is key

In order to make sure your levothyroxine works how it’s supposed to, you need to prioritize consistency. That means that if you’ve been taking the brand-name version Synthroid, keep taking the brand-name and don’t switch to the generic form unless your doctor tells you otherwise. If you are taking the generic form levothyroxine, then make sure you get the same manufacturer each time. 

At Honeybee Health, we give you the ability to pick your manufacturer so that you can ensure you get the exact same medication, month after month. This is important not only because it ensures consistency, but also because it means you can find the best fit for you. Besides potency, there are other variations between manufacturers such as pill size, pill color, pill shape, and so on. 

Buy a 90-day supply
One last tip: buy a three-month supply of your medication at a time. That way, you know you’ll have three months of the exact same medication instead of needing a refill after one month. This can also help protect in the unlikely case that a certain manufacturer has a shortage or becomes unavailable for a period of time. And, buying a 90-day supply saves you money, giving you peace of mind when it comes to your health and your wallet. You can read more about how to make the switch here.

Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi

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