Porcine Thyroid Shortage: What to Do?
Monday, September 24, 2018
Posted by: Submitted by Meredith Warren
Porcine thyroid is desiccated pig thyroid that contains a ratio of both T3 (liothyronine) and T4 (levothyroxine). Currently there is a recall on most of the porcine thyroid powder compounding pharmacies use, as well as a shortage of commercially available products such as Nature-Thyroid and WP thyroid. This has left patients and doctors to find alternative options. Currently, Armour Thyroid is available, but as it contains binders, fillers and colors it is the least popular with doctors and patients. Additionally, it is far more expensive than the other brands of porcine thyroid tablets.
One option available is to convert patients to a combination T3/T4 compounded capsule. For example, the amount of thyroid found in 1 grain of porcine thyroid is 9mcg of T3 and 38mcg of T4. This can easily be compounded into a capsule providing the patient with their current dosage. The compounded T3/T4 is a synthetic, but bio-identical thyroid not derived from porcine. In addition, the compounded thyroid is made in capsules which may have a different absorption than a tablet with binders.
One major advantage to the compounded product is the ability to individually increase or decrease the T3 or T4. Also, you can custom pick the fillers used in the compounded thyroid depending on patient’s sensitivities or allergies. Lastly, the compounded version can be made into a slow-release capsule which is helpful due to the T3 short half-life. However, it is advisable to have your pharmacist help you with the slow-release conversion.
Please call Community Compounding Pharmacy for any additional information on thyroid preparations and check our website for our Pharmacy CE conference coming up October 20th.