Primary hypothyroidism in the community: Lower daily dosages of levothyroxine replacement therapy for Asian patients

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The goal of treatment in patients with primary hypothyroidism is to attain euthyroidism guided by the stipulated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels range so as to minimize any potential long-term adverse effects. However, various factors may result in their Levothyroxine (T4) under and over-replacement.

Our study aimed to evaluate the mean daily dose of L-T4 replacement for Asian patients with primary hypothyroidism. The secondary aims were to determine the proportion of those who were either over or under-replaced, and the factors associated with their thyroid function status and replacement adherence.

Data collected using questionnaire survey from targeted patients managed in a typical public primary care center in Singapore: socio-demographic characteristics, clinical parameters, laboratory investigations, mean daily L-T4-replacement doses, and replacement regimens. The thyroid status of patients was classified based on thyroid function investigations.

Complete data of 229 patients were analyzed. A total of 59.8% of patients had TSH within the normal range, 27.5% and 12.7% were under and over-replaced, respectively. About 60% of Asian patients with primary hypothyroidism achieved normal TSH status requiring average of 1.1 μg of daily L-T4/kgBW (kg body weight). Subjects who were over-replaced had a higher daily L-T4 dose/kgBW when compared to the euthyroid and the under replaced groups. Those with L-T4 over-replacement were largely due to excessive dosage. Patients who were younger, from lower socioeconomic strata, and higher BMI were more likely to be over or under-replaced.

Majority of Asian patients with hypothyroidism required replacement of 1.1 μg of daily L-T4/kgBW. Their thyroid status was influenced by demographic and dosing factors.

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