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Generic Levothroid

There is one generic Levothroid product available that is considered equivalent to the brand-name medication. Generic Levothroid is sold under the name Levothyroxine tablets and is available in all the same strengths as brand-name Levothroid.

Generic Levothroid: An Overview

Levothroid® (levothyroxine sodium) is a prescription thyroid medication. It is most often used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), although it is approved to treat a few other thyroid problems as well (such as thyroid cancer, goiters, or nodules).
Levothroid is manufactured by Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In the past, it has been difficult to determine whether generic levothyroxine products were equivalent to brand-name ones (or even if brand-name products were equivalent to each other). However, these problems have been resolved.

Past Problems With Generic Levothroid

Some people are unaware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never approved many prescription medications (usually older medications). Almost always, these medications were already around before many of the laws and regulations were established. Levothroid and all other levothyroxine medications were unapproved drugs until recently. Because the FDA did not approve them, there was no way to know if any of these products were equivalent.
A few years ago, the FDA required all levothyroxine products to obtain FDA approval. This involved certain studies that determined whether any of these medications were equivalent (or not equivalent) to each other. The FDA has determined that just one of the available generic levothyroxine products is equivalent to Levothroid (and that Levothroid is not equivalent to any other brand-name products). Mylan Pharmaceuticals makes the one generic levothyroxine that is equivalent to Levothroid.
Keep in mind that levothyroxine is a "narrow therapeutic index" medication, which means that tiny changes in the dose can result in large changes in the body. As a result, most healthcare providers recommend that you stick with one brand of levothyroxine if possible. If you do need to change brands, it is a good idea for your healthcare provider to do blood tests often to make sure that your dose does not need to be adjusted.

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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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