Advertisement

People Increasingly Prescribed Levothyroxine for Subclinical Hypothyroidism — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
October 8, 2013

People Increasingly Prescribed Levothyroxine for Subclinical Hypothyroidism

By Kelly Young

Prescriptions for levothyroxine have increased markedly since 2002, and many people are potentially being overtreated for subclinical hypothyroidism, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine study.

U.K. researchers retrospectively assessed thyrotropin levels among some 52,000 people who began taking levothyroxine between 2001 and 2009. During that time, new prescriptions increased 1.74-fold. The median thyrotropin level at treatment initiation fell from 8.7 to 7.9 mIU/L, partly reflecting an increase in patients treated at 4.0 to 10.0 mIU/L. (Guidelines recommend considering treatment at 10.0 mIU/L or lower in those with hypothyroidism symptoms, cardiovascular disease, or other factors.)

Five years after levothyroxine initiation, 5.8% of patients had suppressed thyrotropin levels and 10.2% had low levels.

The authors conclude: "While thyroidologists are still debating whether subclinical hypothyroidism should be more widely treated, it is increasingly apparent that this is already happening in primary care. Randomized controlled trials ... are urgently needed to refine current levothyroxine prescribing and to indicate the balance of risks and benefits of current practice."

Reader Comments (1)

M. Saavedra CPNP,MSN.BSN Other Healthcare Professional, Pediatrics/Adolescent Medicine, Uva Student Health Center

Good sourece of information

Your Comment

(will not be published)

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Do you have any conflict of interest to disclose?
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Vertical Tabs

* Required

Reader comments are intended to encourage lively discussion of clinical topics with your peers in the medical community. We ask that you keep your remarks to a reasonable length, and we reserve the right to withhold publication of remarks that do not meet this standard.

PRIVACY: We will not use your email address, submitted for a comment, for any other purpose nor sell, rent, or share your e-mail address with any third parties. Please see our Privacy Policy.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement