Reach further, in an Open Access Journal Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports

ISSN 1470-3947 (print)
ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in endocrinology

Published by BioScientifica
Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 15 P359 
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Improvements in quality of life in hypothyroid patients taking Armour thyroid

DH Lewis, J Kumar, P Goulden & DJ Barnes

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Armour thyroid (Armour) is unlicensed in the UK for the treatment of hypothyroidism. It is natural porcine-derived thyroid replacement with 1 grain containing 38 mcg levothyroxine (T4) and 9 mcg L-triiodothyronine (T3), and unspecified amounts of T1, T2 and calcitonin. We have used Armour as a third line agent in selected patients who have not responded adequately to T4 monotherapy, and combination T4/T3 therapy since 2003.

Aim: To assess changes in symptoms of hypothyroidism in patients treated with Armour.

Methods: Forty patients (38 female) who had been prescribed Armour between 2005 and 2006 were identified using hospital Pharmacy records. A simple questionnaire was sent to these patients to assess changes to quality of life whilst they were taking Armour.

Results: Thirty-five patients (88%) returned the questionnaire. All patients had been prescribed either T4 and/or combination T4/T3 therapy before commencing Armour. Twenty-nine were still taking Armour at the time of the questionnaire. Three of these twenty-nine patients did not answer the quality of life questions, one of whom was unable to tolerate T4 and T3 due to nausea.

Of the patients still taking Armour, 72% found improvement in energy levels, 52% dry skin, 52% hair loss and 55% cold intolerance. There was no difference in constipation, arthragia, myalgia or ability to lose weight. Most patients (62%) had improvements in 3 or more symptoms of hypothyroidism.

In the 6 patients who were no longer taking Armour, there were no significant improvements in any parameter.

Conclusion: In appropriately selected hypothyroid patients, Armour appears to improve the quality of life in patients who have either had an inadequate clinical response to conventional T4/T3 therapy or are unable to tolerate such therapy.

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