Armour Thyroid is a medication that can treat hypothyroidism and other thyroid conditions.

Many people with hypothyroidism find relief from taking Armour Thyroid medication. However, others with the condition may not be able to take it due to possible side effects and interactions with other medications.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that help the human body regulate energy. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough of these hormones. Certain medications can help restore healthy hormone levels.

Armour Thyroid is one medication that replaces missing thyroid hormones in cases of hypothyroidism. It can also help treat goiters, thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer.

This article covers Armour Thyroid and includes uses, side effects, interactions, and alternative medications.

Male placing a pill on his tongueShare on Pinterest
Studio Firma/Stocksy

Armour Thyroid medication contains hormones that come from the thyroid gland of pigs. These hormones include levothyroxine and liothyronine.

Individuals with hypothyroidism can take Armour Thyroid to restore levels of thyroid hormones. In most cases, people with this condition must take Armour Thyroid for life. In addition to hypothyroidism, Armour Thyroid can treat:

Armour Thyroid is one of a group of medications called desiccated thyroid extracts (DTEs). In a 2020 study, researchers examined people who began taking a DTE for hypothyroidism. Over 80% of these individuals reported that they found DTEs to be an effective treatment.

Although they can be effective, Armour Thyroid and other DTEs also have certain risks. Deriving hormones from pig thyroid glands is a complicated procedure.

Because of this, it can be difficult to ensure consistent dosages. In certain cases, this can lead to negative side effects.

The side effects of Armour Thyroid vary among individuals. In some cases, taking this medication can lead to thyroid hormone toxicity. Signs of this condition include:

  • rapid pulse
  • profuse sweating
  • heat sensitivity
  • anxiety
  • chest pain
  • heart palpitations

Some people who take Armour Thyroid may also experience hair loss. In most cases, this side effect goes away within a few months. Taking too much of this medication can also cause an overdose reaction. This can cause:

  • fever
  • low blood sugar
  • dehydration
  • heart problems

To learn more about the possible side effects of Armour Thyroid, speak with a healthcare professional.

Certain medications can cause a negative interaction with Armour Thyroid. These medications include:

  • blood thinners
  • cholestyramine
  • colestipol
  • some types of oral birth control
  • estrogen
  • insulin
  • oral hypoglycemics

In a 2018 study, a 32-year-old man taking Armour Thyroid experienced a heart attack. This individual was also taking testosterone prescribed by a doctor. The researchers in this study concluded that combining these two medications can increase the risk of heart attack.

Taking Armour Thyroid may worsen cardiovascular disease in certain cases. This is particularly true for older adults and for those with a history of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, Armour Thyroid medication may worsen symptoms for people with diabetes.

This medication can also make people more sensitive to oral blood-thinning medications. Anyone taking blood thinners should consult with a doctor before beginning Armour Thyroid.

Researchers have also found that Armour Thyroid may increase levels of the thyroglobulin (Tg) protein. People with a history of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) regularly undergo testing for Tg levels. For these individuals, high Tg levels may indicate that their cancer is coming back.

Because of this, researchers have recommended that people with a history of DTC avoid taking Armour Thyroid.

One of the most common medications for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine. This medication replaces thyroxine, a hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Most people who take this medication do not experience serious side effects.

However, some people may have a negative experience with levothyroxine. A 2021 study found that people who had side effects with this medication saw improvement after switching to Armour Thyroid.

After beginning levothyroxine, individuals undergo regular blood tests to measure hormone levels. Depending on these levels, adjusting the dose of levothyroxine may be necessary instead.

Some individuals with hypothyroidism may benefit from taking levothyroxine along with triiodothyronine. But research into combination therapy remains limited.

The following are some questions people frequently ask about Armour Thyroid medication.

Is Armour Thyroid better than levothyroxine?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has still not approved Armour Thyroid. This is partly due to how difficult it can be to manufacture this medication. Manufacturing issues can lead to inconsistent dosages, which may cause negative health consequences.

Because levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone, it is easier to produce consistent products. The FDA has approved this medication for thyroid hormone replacement.

Why don’t doctors prescribe Armour Thyroid?

Doctors in the United States may hesitate to prescribe Armour Thyroid because it is not approved by the FDA.

They may also avoid prescribing this medication to individuals with certain health conditions, such as people with a history of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or certain types of thyroid cancer.

Armour Thyroid may not be a safe or effective medication for some of these individuals.

Does Armour Thyroid cause weight gain?

Many people with hypothyroidism experience weight gain. Treating hypothyroidism with Armour Thyroid can result in weight loss for these individuals.

A 2018 study documented some individuals without hypothyroidism who have taken Armour Thyroid as a supplement to promote weight loss. However, this is not recommended by medical professionals, as it can lead to serious health consequences.

Armour Thyroid is a medication that can treat hypothyroidism and other thyroid conditions. Many individuals who have taken this medication experience positive effects.

However, Armour Thyroid is not an appropriate medication for everyone. Individuals with certain health conditions may experience harmful effects from Armour Thyroid. This medication may also interact negatively with other medications, such as blood thinners.

Individuals with hypothyroidism should speak with a healthcare professional about all treatment options that may be available.