Can I take over-the-counter drugs instead of levothyroxine?

No, there is no OTC alternative to thyroid medications. But the good news is that there are many generic drugs for thyroid replacement, and many pharmacies offer very low prices on these medications.
William Lee Dubois
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Yikes! Breaks my heart when I hear stories like this, but I have good news, levothyroxine is a generic thyroid hormone replacement medication, and as such, is on the $4 list at Wal-Mart. Surely you can swing $4 a month? That’s cheaper than most OTC meds, after all.

Your thyroid med is not optional. If your doc prescribed this medication, you are hypothyroid, and that funky little organ in your neck is under producing the chemicals that drive your metabolism for the whole day. Without your pills at best you’ll be dragging through the day, and at worst will fall asleep at the wheel driving.

Oh, and be sure to take it in the morning with a nice glass of water quite a bit before you eat, and without any other pills. Like a spoiled toddler, levothyroxine does not play nice with others.

But there are lots of other needed meds for which there are no generic alternatives, and at first glance that may seem pretty hopeless, so I want to spend a quick moment on that. Some frontline drugs can be $200, $300, $400 a month or more.

If you have no health insurance, or if you are in Medicare Part D’s “doughnut hole” you will probably qualify for Patient Assistance. The big pharma companies all give hundreds of thousands of dollars of drugs away every month. Check the website of the medication you need, or contact your local community health center. In addition to Patient Assistance, many Federally Qualified Health Centers have what are called 340B pharmacies. The 340B is a non-profit cash only pharmacy that sells meds at the price the Veteran’s Administration pays, plus a very small administrative fee.

The prices can range from fair to amazing, sometimes literally pennies on the dollar.