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Metabolism. 2002 Nov;51(11):1381-3.

Triiodothyronine supplementation for hypothalamic obesity.

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Department of Endocrinology and the Division of Pediatrics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.


Patients with suprasellar lesions develop profound hypothalamic obesity and listlessness with no effective treatment. We added triiodothyronine (T(3)) supplementation in 3 such patients and present their response. All had previous nutritional counseling without benefit. All were treated for diabetes insipidus (DI) and hypopituitarism; serum free thyroxine (T(4)) level was normal. A 24-year-old woman (pineal tumor and astrocytoma) had weight gain (4.7 kg/yr for 3 years), cold intolerance, fatigue, dry skin, and constipation; after T(3), she lost 14 kg over 27 months and reported overall improvement. Her bone mineral density also improved. A 10.6-year-old boy (optic glioma) was gaining 6 kg/yr for 4 years; after T(3) supplement, he lost 4.3 kg over 11 months. A 12-year-old girl (mixed germ cell tumor) had weight gain (8.3 kg/yr for 3 years) and listlessness; after T(3), she lost 8.1 kg over 16 months and had improved alertness. All patients were asymptomatic despite supraphysiologic T(3) levels. We suggest that T(3) may serve as a simple and effective supplement, which can promote weight loss and improve the well being of these patients with hypothalamic obesity.

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