Is NP Thyroid Any Good?
If you don’t know much about NP thyroid then you are in the right place.
We are going to be talking about FACTS that you should know prior to using this medication.
If you don’t know what NP thyroid is then let me fill you in.
NP thyroid is a type of natural desiccated thyroid medication that is used to treat LOW thyroid function.
Learning and understanding more about NP thyroid is important nowadays because there have been several changes and reformulations to other brands of NDT making some less reliable.
This means the thyroid medication landscape has changed and you should be aware of what separates these medications from each other so you can find out what YOU should be using.
5 NP Thyroid Facts you should know (before using it)
NP thyroid, while not necessarily a “new” medication, is still somewhat less known compared to other more popular brands of NDT.
Below you will find what I think are the MOST important things you should know about NP thyroid (preferably before using it).
These facts range from information about the ingredients found inside of NP thyroid, how it compares to other thyroid medication formulations, why it’s good for weight loss, and how it compares in terms of cost.
Let’s jump in…
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#1. It is an NDT formulation.
The first thing you should know is that NP thyroid is an NDT formulation.
NDT, as I mentioned earlier, stands for natural desiccated thyroid and refers to an entire GROUP or CLASS of medications.
Medications that fall into this group are all created in the same basic way.
They all contain similar active ingredients (we will touch on these in a minute) but they differ in their INACTIVE ingredients.
These inactive ingredients, as you will soon find out, can make all of the difference for certain people.
We don’t want to forget about the active ingredients, however, because they are also important (probably the most important).
So what is NDT?
NDT is a way of creating medication from certain animals (usually pigs).
It is created by taking thyroid glands from pigs (usually) and drying them up and then desiccating them (smashing them up into tiny pieces) and then standardizing the HORMONE content in each ‘grain’.
This is then formulated into a tablet which is then provided to you as the patient from a pharmacy.
Each grain of NDT (which includes NP thyroid) contains the same active ingredients of T4 and T3 (both of these are thyroid hormones).
But NDT also contains additional ingredients which are VERY beneficial.
These additional ingredients include calcitonin (a hormone secreted from the thyroid gland), T1 thyroid hormone, and T2 thyroid hormone.
These ingredients may not sound like much but they are actually a big deal.
No other thyroid medication contains these ingredients (unless they are in the same NDT class of medications)!
The medications you are probably aware of (like levothyroxine and Synthroid) contain only ONE thyroid hormone which is T4.
This is what separates NDT brands and formulations from other thyroid medications (and part of the reason why they are so special and effective).
Unfortunately, what sets them apart is also what makes doctors hesitant to recommend them.
Many doctors believe that it is somehow negative or a problem that the hormones are derived from an animal.
They think this even though the hormones are BIO-IDENTICAL or BODY-IDENTICAL (meaning they are an exact match to those that your thyroid gland produces naturally).
NP thyroid falls into this class of NDT medications which means it has all of these beneficial properties.
#2. NP vs Armour thyroid (they are NOT the same).
The next thing you should understand is that even though both NP thyroid and Armour thyroid are BOTH medications that fall into the NDT class they are NOT the same.
I repeat, they are NOT the same medication.
What does this mean?
It means that certain people will do better on NP thyroid and others will do better on Armour thyroid.
It does NOT mean (though it may) that you can switch to one from the other and back and forth and not experience any issues.
This does happen but it is typically the exception rather than the rule.
So how do these medications differ?
They differ in their INACTIVE ingredients.
I already said that NDT medications have several things in common but where they differ is in their inactive ingredients.
And these inactive ingredients can make all of the difference, at least for some people.
You can find a complete list of ingredients for BOTH medications below.
COMPLETE list of ingredients found within NP thyroid:
- Calcium stearate
- Dextrose Monohydrate
- Mineral oil
- T1, T2, and calcitonin
COMPLETE list of ingredients found within Armour thyroid:
- Calcium stearate
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Sodium starch glycolate
- Opadry white
- T1, T2, and calcitonin
The first thing you should see is that NP thyroid has exactly 1 fewer ingredient than Armour thyroid making it slightly more “clean”.
I am using clean in the sense that it contains FEWER inactive ingredients and dyes.
But you can also see that they are, in fact, quite similar.
The main difference is that Armour thyroid contains Opadry white and cellulose while NP thyroid contains maltodextrin (1) and mineral oil.
Again, these minor differences may not sound like a lot but they can actually be the difference between whether your body absorbs and uses the medication or it doesn’t.
If one is not working for you don’t be afraid to switch between them!
#3. NP vs Levothyroxine & Synthroid (Which is best?).
What about the difference between NP thyroid and levothyroxine or Synthroid?
Is NP thyroid better?
And I think the best, and easiest, way to say this is…
Most likely, yes, and probably.
A bit ambiguous, I know, but the truth is that MOST patients who switch to NP thyroid from levothyroxine will probably prefer this medication over what they were previously using.
How can I make such a statement?
Well, I have my own personal experience to draw from but I also have research studies to draw from as well.
From these studies (1), we know that approximately 50% of people who switch from levothyroxine to DTE (desiccated thyroid extract – another way to describe NDT medications) prefer the DTE or thyroid extract.
This doesn’t GUARANTEE that it will happen to you, after all, there are about 50% of patients didn’t notice a difference.
But I would argue that doses being equal, you will most likely do better on NP thyroid over levothyroxine.
And the reason is simple:
As I mentioned earlier, NP thyroid contains BOTH active thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) as well as minor amounts of the lesser active thyroid hormones T1 and T2.
The net result is that most people who make the switch not only feel better but also experience more energy and slight weight loss.
If you are thinking about making the switch then I would recommend that you go ahead and give it a try.
But, before you do, you should be aware that MOST doctors tend to underdose NDT medications and this DOES impact how you feel about it.
It’s not fair for you to switch from a high dose of levothyroxine to a small dose of NP thyroid and then to make your assessment on whether or not it works based on that experience.
That’s why I said that all things being equal (meaning your dose) you will probably prefer NP thyroid.
But in order for that statement to be true, your dose MUST be aligned.
You can learn more about converting between NDT and levothyroxine in this detailed guide which I explain how to actually do it.
#4. NP Thyroid & Weight Loss.
Another question that people frequently ask is whether or not NP thyroid will help them with weight loss.
And I kind of already alluded to the answer above, but the answer is yes, it has the potential to help with weight loss (more so than levothyroxine).
Making the switch doesn’t guarantee that you will lose weight, however, as that depends on many more factors than just your medication.
The key here is that it contains BOTH active thyroid hormones including the MOST active thyroid hormone T3.
T3 is what is responsible for managing your metabolism, helping provide you with energy, and helping you burn more calories.
The higher your T3 is the more likely you are to lose weight.
I mentioned earlier that there were studies that showed that patients who switched from levothyroxine to DTE preferred the switch.
Well, one of the reasons was because people who switched experienced weight loss in the process!
And this weight loss occurred without the use of exercise/dieting, etc.
It just happened naturally with the change in medication.
Again, the reason for this is most likely because NP thyroid contains T3 whereas levothyroxine and Synthroid do NOT.
If weight loss is high up on your priority list AND if you are feeling poorly on Levo/Synthroid then it would be wise to consider making the switch to NP thyroid.
Weight loss on NP thyroid will be dose-dependent.
You can’t expect to make the switch and shed pounds if your doctor underdoses you during the transition.
#5. Cost of NP Thyroid.
What about the cost?
Is NP thyroid affordable?
Well, actually, yes it is, especially when compared to other formulations of NDT.
In my experience (and based on pharmacy prices) NP thyroid is usually the cheapest of ALL NDT thyroid medications.
Again, this isn’t a hard and fast rule as your mileage may vary but for most pharmacies this is true.
Why isn’t it always the cheapest?
You have to remember that pharmacies are just third-party sellers of prescription medications and they are in the business of making money.
Most people don’t realize that pharmacies will set their own prices and those prices can vary drastically from location to location even among the same type of pharmacy.
For instance, a CVS pharmacy 2 miles away from you can charge more than a CVS pharmacy 10 miles away.
But it’s up to you to figure out which one is the cheapest and to do that you need to do a little bit of research.
You should also be aware that it can sometimes be cheaper to pay the cash price instead of the price that your insurance wants you to pay.
I know this goes against everything you’ve probably ever heard but it is absolutely true.
If you are ever picking up a medication you should always ask your pharmacist or pharmacy what the cash price is for the medication WITHOUT using your insurance.
Your pharmacist may give you pushback on this but you would be surprised to know that, in some cases, the cash price is actually cheaper than your insurance price.
Don’t just assume that your pharmacy is doing these calculations for you and giving you the best deal.
Don’t forget that you as the consumer have the option to shop around!
Here in Arizona, the cost for NP thyroid (cash price) ranges from around $20-$30 (depending on which pharmacy you use).
You can compare this to the Armour thyroid cash price which is often $30 to $50 per month.
I often recommend that patients use a cash coupon service such as goodrx.com which can help you price out prescriptions from pharmacies near you.
Should you use it?
So, what’s the verdict?
Should you use NP thyroid or should you look for something different?
My recommendation to you is that if you are feeling poorly or if you feel that there is significant room for improvement in your health and your symptoms then YES you should consider a TRIAL of this medication.
I’m a huge advocate of using multiple thyroid medications to try and find what works for YOU before you settle down on one.
I have personally run patients through 5+ thyroid medications before we land on one that works for them.
It can be frustrating to do this but it’s the best way to find out what works for you.
Don’t be afraid to give NP thyroid a try if you are using another brand of NDT such as Armour thyroid or Nature-throid.
Lastly, there have been reports that NP thyroid has changed its formula and that it is no longer working.
While it may true that some of the suppliers have changed which may influence the inactive ingredients, the primary ingredients remain unchanged.
The FDA regulates the concentration of hormones found within medications so the T3 and T4 concentrations cannot be altered in these medications (at least not without telling everyone).
What’s more likely is that the INACTIVE ingredients have been slightly altered which impacts certain individuals.
But NP thyroid still certainly has the potential to work and still does work for many people.
Now I want to hear from you:
Are you currently using NP thyroid?
Is it working for you?
Do you want to switch to NP thyroid?
Which thyroid medication are you currently taking?
Leave your comments or questions below to keep the conversation going!