When MedPage Today wrote that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's physician, Lisa Bardack, MD, had released additional health information about Clinton, one item received several comments: Bardack's use of the porcine product Armour Thyroid rather than levothyroxine (Synthroid) to treat Clinton's hypothyroidism.
"Armour Thyroid. One would think we could do better for our former First Lady," wrote one commenter.
"I am glad to hear she is taking Armour Thyroid rather than synthetic substitutes which contain only T4 and not T3. I always prescribed Armour for my patients because it is more natural, safer and more effective," wrote another.
Armour Thyroid is a thyroid tablet derived from the thyroid glands of pigs and "has a strong, characteristic odor," according to the drug's prescribing information. The tablets "provide 38 mcg levothyroxine (T4) and 9 mcg liothyronine (T3) per grain of thyroid."
Although thyroid hormone extracts have been used for centuries, the first reports of use in the English-speaking medical literature were in England in 1891, explained James Hennessey, MD, an endocrinologist at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Initially the extract was derived from sheep and given in the form of an injection.