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J Thyroid Res. 2011;2011:843591. doi: 10.4061/2011/843591. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Levothyroxine treatment in pregnancy: indications, efficacy, and therapeutic regimen.

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Section of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC 20010, USA.

Abstract

The prevalence of overt and subclinical hypothyroidism during pregnancy is estimated to be 0.3-0.5% and 2-3%, respectively. Thyroid autoantibodies are found in 5-18% of women in the childbearing age. The aim of this review is to underscore the clinical significance of these findings on the health of both the mother and her offspring. Methods of evaluation of thyroid function tests (TFTs) during pregnancy are described as are the threshold values for the diagnosis of overt and subclinical hypothyroidism or hypothyroxinemia. Anticipated differences in TFTs in iodine-sufficient and iodine-deficient areas are discussed and data are provided on potential complications of hypothyroidism/hypothyroxinemia and autoimmune thyroid disease during pregnancy and adverse effects for the offspring. The beneficial effects of levothyroxine therapy on pregnancy outcomes and offspring development are discussed with a proposed treatment regimen and follow up strategy.

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