Can the drugs being used for thyroid disorders also treat anemia? Thyroid dysfunction and anemia are common disorders. Their frequency increases with advancing age.
A recent clinical trial
has explored the effectiveness of a drug used in the management of thyroid disease for treating anemia in older patients.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormone needed for normal body function. Anemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry an adequate amount of oxygen to your body's tissues. Anemia results in low hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Both of these conditions are common and can coexist in old age. The symptoms of both hypothyroidism and anemia are frequently nonspecific and of similar nature (e.g., fatigue, malaise, shortness of breath, and exercise intolerance).
Levothyroxine is a medication that is commonly used to treat hypothyroidism. There has been some evidence that levothyroxine can also increase blood hemoglobin levels however, strong clinical data on this topic is not available.
A recent clinical trial has attempted to solve this mystery by evaluating the effectiveness of levothyroxine in correcting anemia in hypothyroid patients.
The clinical study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism is an analysis of two clinical trials. It involved 669 participants, aged 65 years or older, suffering from reduced thyroid gland function. 332 patients were given levothyroxine while 337 patients received a placebo. Hemoglobin levels of these patients were checked at the start of the clinical trial and after 12 months.
The results of the clinical trial showed that the average change in hemoglobin levels of both groups was similar and there was no significant difference between the two groups.
Hence, the researchers have found that levothyroxine does not affect hemoglobin levels in older adults with hypothyroidism. This clinical study has refuted the previous notion that levothyroxine could also treat anemia in old patients with thyroid dysfunction.
The findings of this clinical study suggest that levothyroxine is not an effective treatment for anemia in older adults with hypothyroidism. And so, this drug should not be used for increasing hemoglobin levels in these patients.
In conclusion, this clinical study provides important information for doctors who treat older adults with reduced thyroid gland function. Levothyroxine may not be an effective treatment for anemia in these patients and it is emphasized that alternative medications or dietary plans should be employed to correct the hemoglobin levels in these patients. Patients need to discuss their treatment options with their healthcare providers to determine the best management plan for their individual needs.