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Crazy problems with Armour thyroid after longtime use

I had been on 1 1/2 grains of Armour thyroid for 12 years without any problems about 6 weeks ago the weather got very cold I started to feel hypo. I also was under a lot of stress.  Within about a week and a half, I started having low adrenal symptoms: very weak, low body temps, sleep disturbances. I had this about 15 years ago when I was diagnosed.  
At this point I contacted a Holistic Doc who tested me for everything and said I was hyperthyroid because my T3 was high and my TSH was very low-.001.  While I waited for her next visit, I began to get hyperthyroid. Really horrible symptoms: not sleeping all night, adrenaline rushes, mind fog. I immediately lowered my meds to 1/2 grain. I know it was a lot, but I was scared. That took away all the hyper symptoms and I slept. Within 24 hours, I became Hypothyroid. I then tried to up the dose to 1 grain, but I had those horrible adrenal symptoms-wired/tired, waking up every hour with my heart pounding from weird dream.  I then decided to lower the dose back to 1/2 grain with my holistic doc permission and did that for 3 days. By the end of the three days, I felt horrible Hypothyroid.  
I then upped the dose to 3/4 grain. I did ok with that, However, I was still very hypothyroid according to the retest). After 3 days of this dose, I went up to 1 grain. I had felt a little bit better on this dose, but this is day three and the night adrenal symptoms started again with insomnia, waking up frequently from dream. I believe I have weak adrenals and am waiting on the test results in a couple of weeks.
I know I should have cut the dose that much to begin with, but I was scared of the hyper symptoms.  I would like to know if anyone has experienced the night time adrenal symptoms I mentioned and what you did to alleviate them.  I have thought about taking Magnesium, Melatonin, other herbs to help.  I am doing a adrenal cocktail twice a day. For the adrenals, what would help to support them.
The regular doc who manages my thyroid meds, doesn’t know much about it and is confused by my symptoms.
Thanks for your help
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649848 tn?1534633700
Could you please post whatever, actual thyroid hormone test results you have.   It takes, even Armour more than 24 hrs to leave the system and cause changes from hypo to hyper that quickly.

Sometimes, hyper and hypo symptoms can mimic each other.  Many of us have had the sleep issues you mentioned when very hypo - I know I did.

If you'll post whatever results you have, along with their corresponding reference ranges, we'll have a much better what you're dealing with.
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I just saw your response. My test results back then are .003 TSH, 1.0 FT4, 3.8 FT3. The FT3 was high. I did take the test a couple hours after taking the meds.  My tests always look this way. I am clearly not hypothyroid here. I did become over medicated and as of today I have had to reduce my meds to 1 grain. With the 1 grain, I have had severe insomnia and  hear palpitations, higher than normal pulse rate and temps.  I will have to reduce the thyroid med again so I can sleep. I will probably end up taking on 1/2 grain . I think that my body just can’t handle all the extra T3 in Armour anymore. I do have adrenal issues too. At this point I have high cortisol levels at night.
I am curious about the T4 meds to see whether they will be gentler to my system then Armour has been lately.
What are the reference ranges for the FT4 and FT3?  Ranges vary from lab to lab and have to come from your own report.   Based on ranges we, typically, see, your FT4 is quite low (even though it’s “in range”) and your FT3 is within most ranges we see.  

It takes approximately 4-6 weeks for T4 med to take full effect to and although the T3 in Armour is much more potent than the T4, I find it hard to imagine that you’re swinging from hypo to hyper that quickly.

Armour reformulated about 5-7 yrs ago and to my knowledge haven’t done so since then.   Because adrenal issues have many of the same symptoms as thyroid issues, it’s sometimes difficult to know which you’re actually dealing with.  It sounds like you might be dealing more with adrenal than thyroid.  

Anyway, once I know the reference ranges for the FT4/FT3, I’ll be able to give more ideas.
Avatar universal
I watched a video recently and I'm trying to remember the lady's name. She stated that Armor had changed their formulation in recent years.
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I hear that they refomulated their meds too. I have been ok with taking Armour for a long time. My TSH has always showed as being hyper and my T3 was always at the very top of the range.  I am turning 60 soon and think maybe my body can’t handle it anymore. I wonder if something like Synthroid would be better. I have friends on Synthroid and they are happy with it.
Avatar universal
I had exactly the same symptoms and have been on Armor for over 20 years. My primary Dr. did not have the knowledge in endocrinology, I decided to find one and a difference in how the Dr analyzed my symptoms was huge . I also had other problems which made my health even more difficult. Find a Endocrinologist that will prescribe an NDT and not Synthroid. I went through this problem and found another Dr.
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Not all endocrinologists are that good.  I've had 3 of endos since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and only one of them was anything close to "good".  The other 2 caused nothing anxiety and issues for me, so I ended up back letting my pcp manage my thyroid.  

Many of us do better on synthetic hormones than desiccated.  I was on Armour for a while and although didn't do well, but that's because the endo wouldn't give me a high enough dosage.  I'm back to my pcp, on Levoxyl and T3, doing much better.
Avatar universal
My wife and daughter both tried Armour. Both had to add T4 medication in addition to Armour to get enough FT4.  So having to take two medications anyway, Both my wife and daughter have since switched to dual synthetic and both feel much better after switching to dual synthetic (they take both T4 and T3 medications.   One huge advantage of this allows for dosage and tweaking of both the FT4 and TF3 levels.  (Be sure to ONLY change one at a time so you know what effect it has, if you change both at the same time you have no clue what caused the net result or impacted the net result more).

Taking the Armour a couple  hours prior will almost 100% certainly cause a false high result in T3.  T3 peaks after taking it in about 4 hours.  So the test results showing the relatively higher level of FT3 is in my opinion likely much higher than what you body sees as the average level in your system.

One t hing you did not state is HOW you take your Armour.  taking 1 to 1.5 grains a day you should certainly be splitting your dose and taking only half the dose in the morning and the other half in the early afternoon (1 to maybe 3PM).  This will help even out the T3 level and could also alleviate the hyper symptoms you have.  The insomnia could be either caused by Hypo or Hyper.  Your concern for Hyper would suggest t hat you may want to take your 2nd half of the Armour no later than about 1 or 2 PM.  

T3 seems to ramp up and peak in about 4 hours.  and then takes about 8 or so hours to dissipate.  Thus if you take your 1st half of the Armour at like 8AM.  It will be peaked in your blood about noon.  Taking the 2nd half around noon, then as the first dose is slowly dissipating, the 2nd dose is coming on line, peaking about 4PM and then slowly dissipating by bedtime.

BTW: My wife also split her T3 dose when on dual synthetic when her dose was over 10mcg a day.  for exactly the same reason.

My wife also had a "good" Endo, who retired.  His replacement was a horrible disaster and  "crashed" my wife.  Her PCP was better than the endo.  My wife has currently switched her thyroid care over to the Dr. who is working with her on complete  hormone replacement. This has also had to take strong self-advocation as the hormone clinic tended to OVER medicate, while traditional Dr's and it seems especially endo's tend to UNDER medicate.

NEVER be afraid to be your own best advocate and do not feel "guilty" to fire and find a new Dr if they are not listening to you or helping you feel better.  YOU know your body the best and how you feel. It is easy to feel like you are uneducated and somehow inferior to a Dr who has a big fancy diploma and the letters MD behind their name. Just remember that it is YOU who is living in your body, not them. Also remember that while they did go to years of college, they are simply a human being just like you. And you can be trained and learn about thyroid every bit as well as the Dr.  So do NOT let them feel that you are inferior or do not know what you are talking about or feeling.  Dig in and do research.  Go to appointments with credible articles and research papers to back up your positions.  Some Dr's will put up a fight with this due to their arrogance. (that is an indication to find another Dr!) But some will be impressed and be willing to learn.  That is a sign you may have found a very good dr!

Just some things to think about and consider.
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Avatar universal
Eleni I hope you have gotten some relief. Stress and its impact on adrenals can definitely mess up your Armour dosing. Although you say you have been doing well on 1 1/2 grains, that is a very low dose and is likely to lead to problems eventually, including lower tolerance for stress. Most people need 3-5 grains to be optimal, which means your free T4 will be mid-range and free T3 in the upper quarter of the range. It would be a good idea to get a 4-point saliva test for cortisol, such as the one offered by ZRT labs. Once you know what your cortisol is at different times of day you will know whether and how to treat it. You should also check your reverse T3 because if your adrenals are tanked you might be pooling so your cells won't be able to get enough T3. RT3 should be at the bottom of the range; if it's much higher, you'll want to lower your Armour dose to 1 grain and add some T3 to that, like 10 mcg/day split into 2 doses, and work your way gradually up to around 50 mcg/day.
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