Treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism linked with fewer ischemic heart events in younger patients

April 23, 2012

Treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism with the medication levothyroxine appears to be related to fewer ischemic heart disease events in younger patients but this finding was not evident in older patients, according to a report published Online First in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) is defined as an elevated serum thyrotropin level in the presence of normal concentrations. The condition is relatively common and often asymptomatic, although recent meta-analyses have suggested that SCH is associated with increased cardiovascular events and death, especially in young to middle-aged adults, the authors write in their study background. But those epidemiologic associations do not prove that treatment of SCH would be effective, the authors note.

"Thus, only adequately powered randomized controlled intervention trials will be able to demonstrate whether treatment of SCH is worthwhile in terms of improvement in both and symptoms. However, such a trial has not been performed to date and no such trials are ongoing," they comment.

Salman Razvi, M.D., F.R.C.P., of Gateshead Health Foundation Trust and Newcastle University, England, and colleagues used the United Kingdom General Practitioner Research Database to indentify patients with new SCH recorded during 2001 with outcomes analyzed until March 2009. SCH was identified in 3,093 younger patients (40-70 years) and 1,642 older patients (older than 70 years). Levothyroxine was used to treat 52.8 percent of younger patients and 49.9 percent of older patients.

The study results indicate there were 68 incident IHD events among 1,634 younger patients treated with levothyroxine (4.2 percent) vs. 97 events among 1,459 untreated individuals (6.6 percent). In the older group there were 104 events among 819 treated patients (12.7) percent vs. 88 events among 823 untreated patients (10.7 percent).

"In conclusion, treatment with was associated with fewer IHD events and reduced all-cause mortality during an eight-year period of observation in 40 to 70-year-old individuals with SCH but not in those who were older. A prospective randomized controlled trial is required to confirm these findings," the authors conclude.

More information: Arch Intern Med. Published online April 23, 2012. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1159

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.