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March 29, 2023 6 min read

If you're living with hypothyroidism, you're likely aware of the go-to medications, Levothyroxine and Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT). However, as you scrutinize the ingredient labels, you may stumble upon the terms Thyroid USP and API. You're probably wondering: "What do they actually mean?" Trust us; you're not alone! If you're feeling a bit puzzled by all the confusing acronyms that come along with thyroid medication options, read on!

What is USP?

USP, short for the United States Pharmacopeia, is a publication that provides standards for compounding, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and related fields. Initially published in 1820 by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, it has been updated every five years since then.

The mission of USP is to ensure the safety, quality, and effectiveness of healthcare products worldwide. A product that bears the USP symbol signifies that it meets the organization's rigorous standards.

As a non-profit organization, USP sets quality standards for prescription and over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and other healthcare products manufactured or sold in the United States.

These standards are globally recognized as the benchmark for good manufacturing practices and aim to ensure the identity, strength, quality, and purity of healthcare products. Since its founding in 1820, USP has been dedicated to improving public health on a global scale.

What is Thyroid USP?

Thyroid USP is a medication that contains desiccated (dried and powdered) thyroid glands from pigs, commonly known as porcine thyroid. It is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a prescription medication for the treatment of hypothyroidism.

Thyroid USP contains both thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones in a ratio that closely matches that of the human thyroid gland. The exact amount of hormones in each tablet of Thyroid USP is standardized and consistent.

Thyroid USP is typically prescribed as an alternative to synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy (such as levothyroxine) for patients who prefer a more natural approach or who have not responded well to synthetic hormones. It may also be used for the treatment of thyroid cancer and goiter.

As with any medication, Thyroid USP should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional and at the prescribed dosage. It is important to have regular thyroid function tests to ensure that hormone levels are within the normal range.

Is Thyroid USP the same as Levothyroxine Sodium?

No, Thyroid USP is not the same as Levothyroxine Sodium.

The main difference between Thyroid USP and Levothyroxine Sodium is the source of the thyroid hormones.

Thyroid USP is derived from the thyroid glands of pigs, which is then processed and standardized by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) to contain a specific amount of thyroid hormones, including both thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) medications are made by combining thyroid USP with other inactive ingredients to create a tablet or capsule.

Levothyroxine Sodium, on the other hand, is a synthetic form of the T4 hormone that is chemically identical to the hormone produced by the human thyroid gland. It is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for hypothyroidism and is considered to be a pure and stable form of thyroid hormone replacement.

Since Thyroid USP contains not only T4 but also T3, which is considered to be more biologically active, studies have found that many customers prefer medications that contain Thyroid USP compared to Levothyroxine Sodium. The combination of hormones in Thyroid USP is said to be more effective in easing thyroid symptoms.

Both Thyroid USP and Levothyroxine Sodium can have potential side effects, but the specific side effects may differ. For example, some people may experience more side effects with Thyroid USP, such as allergic reactions or increased heart rate, while others may experience more side effects with Levothyroxine Sodium, such as headaches or insomnia.

Additionally, Thyroid USP has been in use for over a century, while Levothyroxine Sodium was introduced later in the 1950s. That being said, both medications have been proven effective in treating hypothyroidism, and the choice between them ultimately depends on the individual patient's needs and preferences.

What does Thyroid USP contain?

Thyroid USP contains all thyroid hormones naturally produced by the human thyroid gland, including both T4 and T3. The exact amounts of T4 and T3 in each tablet are standardized according to USP standards, which require that 1 grain (60 or 65 mg) of Thyroid USP contain 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, with a margin of error of plus or minus 10%. This means that each tablet contains the equivalent of approximately 34.2 to 41.8 mcg T4 and 8.1 to 9.9 mcg T3.

Is Thyroid USP still available?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by hypothyroid patients. Thyroid USP, the standardized thyroid hormone product, is still available and continues to be used in various natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) products such as Armour Thyroid and VitaliThy. Additionally, several compounding pharmacies employ Thyroid USP as a primary ingredient in their compounded NDT preparations.

Its continued usage in NDT products is due to its reputation as a reliable and effective source of thyroid hormone. Its inclusion in NDT products has been known to benefit patients who have had difficulty tolerating other thyroid hormone medications, including synthetic forms such as levothyroxine. The use of Thyroid USP in NDT products has been linked to an increase in thyroid hormone quantities, which can help support those with the poor conversion of T4 to T3.

So if it's still available, why is it so hard to find NDT?

Although there have been challenges with the availability of NDT products in the past, it's worth noting that these issues seem to be linked to manufacturing and distribution challenges rather than a shortage of Thyroid USP as an ingredient. It's important to note that NDT products are regulated by the FDA, and some manufacturing companies have faced challenges with ensuring compliance with these regulations.

While some people have found it challenging to obtain NDT products that contain Thyroid USP, many of you can buy desiccated thyroid online from reputable sources. For instance, VitaliThy is an NDT supplement that contains Thyroid USP, and it's available for purchase online.

What is API?

An Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient, or API, is a biologically active component in tablets, capsules, or injections. APIs are the primary factors that directly affect the body's response to a medication. They are combined with other ingredients, called excipients, which can include fillers, flavorings, and preservatives. Excipients help shape the drug and assist in delivering the API to the right organ to be treated.

APIs can be derived from natural sources, such as compounds purified from animals or plants, or they can be synthesized in a laboratory. These chemical substances are essential to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, and cure diseases. With their direct impact on the body, APIs are a critical component in the pharmaceutical industry.

What is Thyroid API?

Thyroid API refers to the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) that are used in medications intended to treat thyroid-related conditions. The API for thyroid medications usually includes the hormones T4 (levothyroxine) and T3 (liothyronine), which are naturally produced by the thyroid gland. The API may be sourced from natural compounds purified from animals or plants, or it may be synthetic substances created in a laboratory.

Thyroid API is responsible for the therapeutic effect of thyroid medications, as it is the biologically active ingredient that directly affects the body. Other ingredients, such as fillers, binders, and excipients, may be added to the medication to shape it and make it easier to take, but it is the API that is responsible for treating thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Thyroid API is used in various forms of thyroid medication, including tablets and capsules.

Conclusion: Thyroid USP and API

In conclusion, Thyroid USP and API are important components in the production of natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) products and other thyroid drugs. Thyroid USP is identified as the active pharmaceutical ingredient in NDT, which contains both T4 and T3 hormones derived from animal thyroid glands. On the other hand, API is a broader term that can identify the active ingredient in any medication. Both Thyroid USP and API play crucial roles in ensuring the effectiveness of thyroid medications for patients with thyroid disorders.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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