Background: The incidence and prevalence of hypothyroidism are increasing and the threshold for the treatment of hypothyroid as well as individuals without evident thyroid disease with thyroid hormone is declining. Objective: To investigate endocrinologists' use of thyroid hormones in hypothyroid and euthyroid patients in Italy, a country where different formulations of levothyroxine (LT4; tablet, liquid solution and soft-gel capsule) are available on the market. Methods: Members of the Associazione Medici Endocrinologi (Italian Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) were invited to participate in a web-based survey investigating the topic. Results: A total of 797 of 2,028 (39.3%) members completed all the sections of the survey; 98.7% declared that the treatment of choice for hypothyroidism is LT4. A significant minority (37.3%) indicated that LT4 may be considered in infertile euthyroid women seeking pregnancy and harbouring positive thyroperoxidase antibodies (TPOAb) and in goitre increasing in size (18.1%). LT4 + LT3 was considered by 43.2% for LT4-replaced patients and normal TSH, if they reported persistent symptoms. High percentages of respondents chose LT4 in a liquid solution or soft-gel capsules when taken together with other drugs interfering with LT4 absorption (81.8%), in patients with a history of celiac disease, malabsorption, lactose intolerance, intolerance to common excipients (96.6%), or unexplained poor biochemical control of hypothyroidism (74.4%), or in patients not able to adhere to ingesting LT4 fasted and/or separated from food/drink (98.9%). In total, 43.6% of responders would use LT4 in a liquid solution or soft-gel capsules for hypothyroid patients with biochemical euthyroidism on LT4, who had persistent symptoms. Conclusions: The preferred treatment for hypothyroidism is LT4; LT3 + LT4 combination treatment is mainly considered in patients with persistent symptoms. A significant minority would offer LT4 to euthyroid women with positive TPOAb and infertility and to euthyroid patients with progressive simple goitre. Alternative LT4 formulations like liquid solution or soft-gel capsules are largely reserved for specific conditions (interfering drugs, actual or suspected malabsorption, inability to take LT4 in the fasting state, unexplained poor biochemical control of hypothyroidism). No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
- European thyroid association
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism