Levothyroxine might be ineffective for 1 in 4 patients

Photo: Paul Bergmeir/Unsplash.

Photo: Paul Bergmeir/Unsplash.

A new study from BOOST Thyroid offers a groundbreaking perspective on how the most commonly prescribed treatment for an underactive thyroid does not relieve symptoms for up to 25% of patients.

  • 1 in 10 patients feel symptoms worsen after taking Levothyroxine

  • Fatigue is the most common symptom, affecting eight in 10 patients with no symptom improvement

  • 2 in 10 patients on Levothyroxine therapy report experiencing new symptoms

Berlin, May 20 — A new study by BOOST Thyroid suggests that Levothyroxine, the most common medical treatment for an underactive thyroid and one of the top five prescribed drugs worldwide, does not help 1 in 4 patients, and can actually worsen the symptoms of this condition.

The abstract, “Insights from large-scale mHealth data: the impact of Levothyroxine dosage on intensities of symptoms experienced by Hashimoto’s patients,” co-authored by BOOST Thyroid’s Dr. Vedrana Högqvist Tabor and Dr. Mikael Högqvist Tabor, provides a new view of the most common medical treatment for an underactive thyroid.

“Our research shows that one treatment does not fit all and points to the need for more and deeper research into why these differences exist, and how can we predict treatment success for each individual patient,” says Dr. Högqvist Tabor. “Our study is the tip of an iceberg of initiatives raising awareness and pushing for further research on Hashimoto’s, underactive thyroid, and other autoimmune conditions.”

The study was done on over 1000 patients who regularly follow their thyroid treatment, and shows that the most common symptoms remaining after the treatment are fatigue, brain fog, and anxiety. In addition to the symptoms remaining after the therapy, two in 10 patients experienced at least one new symptom.

The goal of the study was to help doctors understand the different range of autoimmune condition symptoms, which will enable them to prevent health complications, and better understand both patient’s issues and the fact that Levothyroxine may not be the best treatment for every patient. In addition, different Levothyroxine formulations (brands) might impact which symptoms will be relieved and to what extent.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune condition, and out of affected people, 80% are women. The condition can lead to infertility and increases the risk of developing later health complications, including obesity, heart-related conditions and cancers.

BOOST Thyroid research is supported by the European Union Horizon 2020 Program under Grant Agreement 691546, and is presenting the findings at this years European Congress of Endocrinology, Barcelona May 19th-22nd.

BOOST Thyroid is an AI-based app that helps people diagnosed with autoimmune diseases preventively manage their health, avoid health complications, and ensure healthier aging. Founded by Dr. Vedrana Högqvist Tabor, who has the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s, BOOST is based in Berlin, Germany and is sponsored by the EU Horizon 2020 programme PERMIDES and the Fast Track Malmö accelerator. BOOST collaborates with University of Oxford and Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.