Generic and Brand-name Hypothyroidism Drugs Have Similar Cardiovascular Outcomes

Results could have major impact on treatment costs

A new study by Mayo Clinic researchers could have a widespread impact on the treatment of patients with predominantly benign thyroid disease and newly treated hypothyroidism.

Researchers looked at whether generic and brand-name levothyroxine therapy affected hospitalization for cardiovascular events in patients with a higher risk of coronary heart disease and heart failure. Levothyroxine is the U.S.’s most prescribed medication, and more than 23 million prescriptions are written annually.

The study reviewed records for 87,902 patients who were followed for a mean period of one year, focusing on hospitalization for heart attack, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, or stroke. The retrospective analysis found that cardiovascular event rates were similar for generic and brand-name levothyroxine therapy, with lower pharmacy costs for the generic drug. The average cost for a 30-day supply of the generic was approximately half that of the brand-name medication.

More than 90% of thyroid prescriptions are for levothyroxine, and there has been disagreement regarding whether the generic and brand-name versions are equivalent. The study findings suggest that generic and brand levothyroxine therapy are similar in terms of cardiovascular events risk, according to the researchers.

Source: Mayo Clinic, June 19, 2019