Levothyroxine and Quality of Life

Adults with hypothyroidism prescribed levothyroxine were more likely to experience lower health-related quality of life and increased comorbidities when compared with similar adults not prescribed thyroid hormone therapy.

  • Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disorder, and substitution therapy with levothyroxine is the standard of care,” Hanneke Wouters of University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands, said during an oral abstract presentation at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting. “Unfortunately, about 10% of the individuals using this drug continue to experience symptoms and a disturbed wellbeing and a disturbed quality of life, despite the fact that their [thyroid-stimulating hormone]level is within the normal range, so they are euthyroid.”
  • Wouters and colleagues analyzed data from 34,400 adults with thyroid function measurements participating in the population-based Dutch Lifelines cohort.
  • Within the cohort, 995 adults (2.8% of total cohort) were prescribed levothyroxine. Compared with the population not prescribed levothyroxine, these patients were more likely to be women (89.4% vs. 57.9%), older (mean age, 51 years vs. 45 years), have higher BMI (mean, 27.2 kg/m² vs. 26.1 kg/m²) and use more medications (range, 0-4 vs. 0-2). Patients prescribed levothyroxine were also more likely to have a comorbidity vs. those not prescribed the drug (80.6% vs. 66%).
  • Among those prescribed levothyroxine, 60% had a normal thyroid-stimulating hormone level (0.4-4 mU/L), 13.4% had TSH defined as suppressed (< 0.4 mU/L) and 26.6% had elevated TSH (at least 4 mU/L).
  • Researchers found that patients prescribed levothyroxine had lower scores in all health-related quality-of-life domains, apart from emotional functioning, when compared with patients not on levothyroxine therapy (P <.001 for all). There were no between-group differences in health-related quality of life among patients prescribed levothyroxine therapy when stratified by TSH level or by levels of FT[SUB]3[/SUB]and FT[SUB]4.[/SUB]

[SUB]“Levothyroxine therapy associated with lower quality of life in hypothyroidism,[/SUB] Helio, 22 March 2018, https://www.healio.com/endocrinology/thyroid/news/online/%7Beb193222-2795-4321-8761-607131d2f743%7D/levothyroxine-therapy-associated-with-lower-quality-of-life-in-hypothyroidism