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Int J Clin Pract. 2010 Jun;64(7):991-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02317.x.

Thyroid hormone replacement: an iatrogenic problem.

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK. Denis.O'


Thyroid hormone replacement is one of the very few medical treatments devised in the 19th century that still survive. It is safe, very effective and hailed as a major success by patients and clinicians. Currently, it is arguably the most contentious issue in clinical endocrinology. The current controversy and patient disquiet began in the early 1970s, when on theoretical grounds and without proper assessment, the serum thyrotropin (TSH) concentration was adopted as the means of assessing the adequacy of thyroxine replacement. The published literature shows that the serum TSH concentration is a poor indicator of clinical status in patients on thyroxine. The adequacy of thyroxine replacement should be assessed clinically with the serum T3 being measured, when required, to detect over-replacement.

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