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October 9, 1995

Thyroid Hormone Use and Bone Mineral Density in Elderly Men

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Dr Schneider) and Community and Family Medicine (Dr Barrett-Connor and Ms Morton), University of California—San Diego, La Jolla.

Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(18):2005-2007. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430180119013

Background:  Excessive thyroid hormone use reduces bone density in women. Thyroid hormone use is much less common in men, who also have less osteoporosis. We examined bone mineral density in a community-based sample of elderly men who reported long-term thyroid hormone use.

Methods:  All 685 white men aged 50 to 98 years from a Southern California community who participated in a study of osteoporosis were examined. Medication use was validated. Height and weight were measured. Bone mineral density was measured at the ultradistal radius and midshaft radius using single photon absorptiometry and at the hip and lumbar spine using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results:  Thirty-three men taking a mean thyroxine-equivalent dose of 130 μg daily for an average of 15.5 years were compared with 653 nonusers. There were no significant differences in bone density at any site between users and nonusers, before or after controlling for age, body mass index, smoking, thiazide diuretics, and oral corticosteroid use. Bone density also did not differ according to thyroid hormone type, duration of use, or use of suppressive dose adjusted for body weight.

Conclusions:  Long-term thyroid hormone use was not associated with adverse effects on bone mineral density in men.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:2005-2007)