For patients who suffer from hypothyroidism, hormone replacement therapy is necessary to keep the metabolism in working order. Synthroid is a popular synthetic replacement, but natural replacements such as Armour thyroid are another option.
The History of Thyroid Replacement Therapy
From around 1892 to the 1950's, natural thyroid hormone replacements similar to Armour were the only way to treat hypothyroidism. Then a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine sodium was developed that replaced natural hormone therapy. Synthroid is a brand name for levothyroxine sodium.
Synthroid & Armour: The Differences
The biggest difference between Synthroid and Armour thyroid is that Synthroid and other levothyroxine sodium drugs replace only one thyroid hormone: T4. The logic is that T4 will be converted into T3 in the body. Armour thyroid replaces both T3 and T4. (REF 1)
Study on Thyroid Replacement Therapy
In 1999, the New England Journal of Medicine published results of a study conducted on patients who received Synthroid and Armour. Patients given Armour showed improved mood and neuropsychological functioning. They also scored better on 6:17 measures, while those taking Synthroid showed no improvement.
Synthroid: Trouble with the FDA
Synthroid has a history of problems with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The FDA found that Synthroid's manufacturer continued to make and distribute sub-potent tablets from 1990 to 1992; numerous batches of the drug were recalled.
Does Armour Work Better?
Synthroid works for many people. However, some are unresponsive to T4 replacement drugs because their type of hypothyroidism prevents T4 to T3 conversion. With a successful track record for more than a century, natural hormone replacements such as Armour remain an option for hypothyroid patients.