Effects of prophylactic thyroid hormone replacement in euthyroid Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Endocr J. 2005 Jun;52(3):337-43. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.52.337.


Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most frequent autoimmune thyroid disease. L-thyroxine therapy can reduce the incidence and alleviate the symptoms of this disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of prophylactic L-thyroxine treatment on clinical and laboratory findings of patients who were euthyroid at the time of diagnosis. Thirty-three patients who had diagnosis of euthyroid Hashimoto's thyroiditis were randomized to two groups, one group received prophylactic L-thyroxine treatment and the other was followed-up without treatment. Initial thyroid function tests, autoantibodies, ultrasonography, fine needle aspiration biopsy and peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets were similar in the two study groups. After 15 months of L-thyroxine treatment, there was a significant increase in free T4 and a significant decrease in TSH and anti-thyroglobulin antibody anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody levels. CD8+ cell counts increased in both groups, CD4/CD8 levels decreased significantly because of the increase in CD8+ cell count levels. Though there was no change in cytological findings, ultrasonography showed a decrease in thyroid volume in L-thyroxine receiving patients whereas an increase was detected in patients who were followed without treatment. In conclusion, prophylactic thyroid hormone therapy can be used in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis even if they are euthyroid.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / drug therapy*
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / immunology
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use*
  • Triiodothyronine / blood
  • Ultrasonography


  • Autoantibodies
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine