Journal of internal medicine, 27 4 2022 Thyroid antibodies and levothyroxine effects in subclinical hypothyroidism: A pooled analysis of two randomized controlled trials. Lyko C, Blum MR, Abolhassani N, Stuber MJ, Del Giovane C, Feller M, Moutzouri E, Oberle J, Jungo KT, Collet TH, den Elzen WPJ, Poortvliet RKE, Du Puy RS, Dekkers OM, Trompet S, Jukema JW, Aujesky D, Quinn T, Westendorp R, Kearney PM, Gussekloo J, Van Heemst D, Mooijaart SP, Bauer DC, Rodondi N


Antithyroid antibodies increase the likelihood of developing overt hypothyroidism, but their clinical utility remains unclear. No large randomized controlled trial (RCT) has assessed whether older adults with subclinical hypothyroidism (SHypo) caused by autoimmune thyroid disease derive more benefits from levothyroxine treatment (LT4).


To determine whether older adults with SHypo and positive antibodies derive more clinical benefits from LT4 than those with negative antibodies.


We pooled individual participant data from two RCTs, Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Untreated Older Adults with Subclinical Hypothyroidism and IEMO 80+. Participants with persistent SHypo were randomly assigned to receive LT4 or placebo. We compared the effects of LT4 versus placebo in participants with and without anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) at baseline. The two primary outcomes were 1-year change in Hypothyroid Symptoms and Tiredness scores on the Thyroid-Related Quality-of-Life Patient-Reported Outcome Questionnaire.


Among 660 participants (54% women) ≥65 years, 188 (28.5%) had positive anti-TPO. LT4 versus placebo on Hypothyroid Symptoms lead to an adjusted between-group difference of -2.07 (95% confidence interval: -6.04 to 1.90) for positive antibodies versus 0.89 (-1.76 to 3.54) for negative antibodies (p for interaction = 0.31). Similarly, there was no treatment effect modification by baseline antibody status for Tiredness scores-adjusted between-group difference 1.75 (-3.60 to 7.09) for positive antibodies versus 1.14 (-1.90 to 4.19) for negative antibodies (p for interaction = 0.98). Positive anti-TPO were not associated with better quality of life, improvement in handgrip strength, or fewer cardiovascular outcomes with levothyroxine treatment.


Among older adults with SHypo, positive antithyroid antibodies are not associated with more benefits on clinical outcomes with LT4.

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