Effects of subclinical hypothyroidism treatment on psychiatric symptoms, muscular complaints, and quality of life

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2012 Mar;56(2):128-36. doi: 10.1590/s0004-27302012000200006.


Objectives: To evaluate the impact of subclinical hypothyroidism (sHT) treatment on health-related quality of life (QoL), psychiatric symptoms, clinical score, and muscle function.

Materials and methods: In this randomized double-blind study, patients were assigned either to treatment (n = 35) or placebo (n = 36). Clinical and psychiatric symptoms were assessed by the Zulewski, Hamilton and Beck scales. QoL was assessed by the SF-36 questionnaire. Assessments of quadriceps (QS) and inspiratory muscle (IS) strength were performed by a chair dynamometer and a manuvacuometer.

Results: Treatment improved IS (+11.5 ± 17.2; p = 0.041), as did QoL domains "Pain" and "Role Physical" (+19.7 ± 15.2, 0.039 and +22.1 ± 47.5, p = 0.054; respectively). Clinical and psychiatric symptoms showed similar responses to both interventions.

Conclusions: sHT treatment improved IS and physical aspects of QoL, despite no impact in other muscle parameters. Clinical score, psychiatric symptoms, and SF-36 domains, based on mental dimensions of QoL may be more susceptible to "placebo effect" in patients with sHT.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy
  • Hypothyroidism / physiopathology
  • Hypothyroidism / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Placebo Effect
  • Quadriceps Muscle / drug effects
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiopathology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Respiratory Muscles / drug effects
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use*


  • Thyroxine