October 1990

Morbidity, Mortality, and Quality of Life for Patients Treated With Levothyroxine

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine 2 (Drs Petersen, Lapidus, and Nyström) and Clinical Chemistry (Dr Lindstedt), Sahlgrenska Sjurhuset, University of Göteborg (Sweden); and Department of Primary Health Care, University of Göteborg (Sweden) (Dr Bengtsson).

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(10):2077-2081. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390210063015

• In a population study of 1462 middle-aged women initiated in 1968 and 1969 we identified 29 women treated with levothyroxine from 1 to 28 years. In a 12-year follow-up in 1980 and 1981 we investigated the subjects for end-point myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, stroke, cancer, and death (the status of 99.7% of the initial participants was established). The women treated with levothyroxine showed no increase in morbidity or mortality. Of the 24 women still receiving levothyroxine in 1980 and 1981, 22 had serum thyrotropin and triiodothyronine concentrations within reference limits. These individuals were compared with the 968 women from the population study having no history of thyroid disease, and appeared identical as to laboratory and clinical data, with the exception of a slightly higher body mass, taller stature, and lower serum cholesterol concentration. The treated group did not differ in a life quality estimate based on 19 questions regarding life satisfaction and sensory function. We conclude that the levothyroxine-treated woman suffers no side effects from her life-long therapy.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:2077-2081)