Armour Thyroid is used to treat hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can cause depression, constipation, weight gain, dry skin, and more.
Thyroid medication, such as Armour Thyroid, can also cause side effects, including:
- irregular menstrual periods
- shallow breathing
Armour Thyroid is the brand name for a natural desiccated thyroid extract used to treat hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive.
A natural desiccated thyroid extract is a treatment made from dried animal thyroid glands.
Usually made from the thyroid glands of a pig, Armour Thyroid works by replacing the hormones that your thyroid gland is unable to produce.
The level of hormones can affect many different body functions causing potential imbalances. If you’re taking Armour Thyroid, see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- lack of appetite
- increased appetite
- hot flashes
- trouble sleeping
- shallow breathing
- rapid weight loss
- cramps in your legs
- rapid mood changes
- muscle weakness
- changes in menstrual cycle
These side effects are not common. Usually, they mean that your dose is too high and needs to be lowered.
Seek immediate professional medical attention if you’re taking Armour Thyroid and experience:
- severe rash
- chest pain or tightness
- fast heartbeat
- extreme anxiety
- swelling of the limbs
Armour Thyroid medication may react negatively with certain other medications.
If your doctor is considering starting you on Armour Thyroid for your hypothyroidism, let them know about any prescription or nonprescription drugs or supplements that you take regularly, including:
- estrogen or birth control
- sucralfate or antacids
- blood thinners (warfarin)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- oral diabetes medication (metformin)
- oral steroids (prednisone, dexamethasone)
There are other precautions you should take if you begin using Armour Thyroid, including:
- If you’re pregnant, hope to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, let your doctor know. You may need a change in dose during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- If you’re elderly, have diabetes or a cardiovascular disease, you may put yourself at risk for a heart attack or other adverse effects.
Unless your doctor says so, you’ll likely not need to make any dietary changes while taking Armour Thyroid.
Armour Thyroid is typically taken orally once daily. The dosage requirements are usually individualized based on patient needs. Dosage is usually low at the beginning of treatment so that your body can become accustomed to it.
If you’ve accidentally missed a pill, do not take two pills at once. Just continue with your medication normally.
Natural desiccated thyroid is the original treatment for hypothyroidism. It has been used for more than a century.
In the mid-1900’s, a synthetic version of thyroxine (T4) — one of the two primary hormones the thyroid gland produces — was developed. This synthetic form of thyroxine is called levothyroxine or l-thyroxine.
Even though natural desiccated thyroid contains two key thyroid hormones — thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) — as well as other elements found in an organic thyroid gland, levothyroxine has become the preferred treatment. Brand names for levothyroxine include:
Along with Armour Thyroid, natural desiccated thyroid drug brand names include:
- WP Thyroid
- NP Thyroid
Although Armour Thyroid helps with the effects of hypothyroidism, the side effects that it might cause may be equally as troublesome.
If you’re concerned about the side effects, discuss them with your doctor when considering Armour Thyroid. Also ask about your doctor’s preference for natural desiccated thyroid drugs vs. levothyroxine.
If you’re experiencing any of the side effects (noted in this article) while taking Armour Thyroid, you should reach out to your doctor. If your side effect is severe, such as trouble breathing or a seizure, seek emergency medical help immediately.