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Menopause. 2004 Mar-Apr;11(2):176-9.

A one-year follow-up on the effects of raloxifene on thyroid function in postmenopausal women.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.



Estrogens increase serum thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) and total thyroxine (TT4) concentrations. Serum free thyroxine (FT4) concentrations, however, remain normal. Raloxifene (RAL) is a selective estrogen receptor modulator used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis. Data on the long-term effects of RAL on thyroid physiology are scanty. We evaluated the effects of RAL administration for 1 year on thyroid function in osteopenic, postmenopausal women.


Fifty osteopenic, postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to receive either RAL (60 mg/day, n = 25) or placebo (PL, n = 25) for 1 year, in a double-blind study. Measurements of serum TBG, TT4, FT4, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroid hormone-binding ratio (THBR), FT4 index (FT4-I) and TT4/TBG ratio were carried out at baseline and after 4 and 12 months of therapy.


Baseline values were similar in both treatment groups. Serum TBG concentrations were increased during RAL treatment from baseline values of 29.60 +/- 0.9 microg/mL to 31.45 +/- 1.33 and 32.34 +/- 1.37 microg/mL at 4 months and 1 year, respectively (P < 0.05, baseline v 1-year values) but were unchanged during PL treatment. A small, insignificant increase in TT4 and TSH concentrations occurred in the RAL group and no changes in the PL group. All other values were unchanged during either treatment.


These results demonstrate that RAL significantly increased serum TBG levels, but the changes were small and not accompanied by changes in FT4-I, FT4, or TSH concentrations, suggesting that long-term RAL treatment is unlikely to clinically affect the thyroid status in euthyroid, postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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