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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009 Jan;70(1):2-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2008.03350.x. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Benzofuran derivatives and the thyroid.

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Department of Endocrinology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London NW3 2QG, UK.


Amiodarone and dronedarone are two clinically important benzofuran derivatives. Amiodarone has been used widely for treating resistant tachyarrhythmias in the past three decades. However amiodarone and its main metabolically active metabolite desethylamiodarone can adversely affect many organs, including the thyroid gland. Amiodarone-induced thyroid disorders are common and often present as a management challenge for endocrinologists. The pathogenesis of amiodarone-induced thyroid dysfunction is complex but the inherent effects of the drug itself as well as its high iodine content appear to play a central role. The non-iodinated dronedarone also exhibits anti-arrhythmic properties but appears to be less toxic to the thyroid. This review describes the biochemistry of benzofuran derivatives, including their pharmacology and the physiology necessary for understanding the cellular mechanisms involved in their actions. The known effects of these compounds on thyroid action are described. Recommendations for management of amiodarone-induced hypothyroidism and thyrotoxicosis are suggested. Dronedarone appears to be an alternative but less-effective anti-arrhythmic agent and it does not have adverse effects on thyroid function. It may have a future role as an alternative agent in patients being considered for amiodarone therapy especially those at high risk of developing thyroid dysfunction but not in severe heart failure.

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