Levoxyl Shortage: When Will It Return?

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Levoxyl is mainly used for the treatment of hypothyroidism or low thyroid hormone levels. It was voluntarily recalled by its manufacturer, Pfizer, in February of 2013, due to reports from consumers and pharmacists that the tablets had a strange smell.

When is Levoxyl expected to be available again?
According to the Levoxyl website the estimated date of availability is March 3, 2014, but the exact date is subject to change without notice.

Why was Levoxyl recalled, and is it safe to use?

An investigation was conducted and it was found that the source of the odor was an oxygen-absorbing canister that had been packaged with some bottles. Pfizer’s assessment indicated that this incident will not cause any adverse health effects for consumers.

What should I expect from similar recalls or shortages?

Drug shortages can occur for various reasons, including recalls, changes in supply and demand, or issues with raw material production, just to name a few. Patients usually do not find out about shortages until they go to the pharmacy to pick up their medication. Ask your pharmacist to explain to you and your doctor, if necessary, why this shortage has occurred. The next step would be for your doctor to decide on an alternative medication to prescribe for you, either temporarily or permanently. Understandably, a drug recall or shortage might leave you feeling skeptical and confused about your prescription, so make sure to speak with your healthcare provider to better understand each unique circumstance.

Does Levoxyl have any offers available from the manufacturer?

Yes. The manufacturer offers patients a copay savings card. See here for more information about requirements and limitations.

What if my pharmacy does not have Levoxyl in stock?

Patients can call Pfizer customer service at 1-800-533-4535. Pfizer will work with your pharmacy and the wholesaler to have the medication quickly shipped and available for you.

Are there any comparable thyroid medications currently available?

Yes. Ask your doctor if Synthroid, levothyroxine, or Armour Thyroid might be right for you. You can also see a list of more thyroid hormones here.

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