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Short-Term Time Trends in Prescribing Therapy for Hypothyroidism: Results of a Survey of American Thyroid Association Members.

by Jonklaas, Jacqueline; Tefera, Eshetu; Shara, Nawar M.
Citation: Frontiers in Endocrinology. 10:31, 2019..Journal: Frontiers in endocrinology.Published: ; 2019ISSN: 1664-2392.Full author list: Jonklaas J; Tefera E; Shara N.UI/PMID: 30761091.Subject(s): IN PROCESS -- NOT YET INDEXEDInstitution(s): MedStar Washington Hospital Center | MedStar Health Research InstituteDepartment(s): Medicine/EndocrinologyActivity type: Journal Article.Medline article type(s): Journal ArticleOnline resources: Click here to access online Digital Object Identifier: (Click here) Abbreviated citation: Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 10:31, 2019.Abstract: <b>Objective:</b> Hypothyroid patients frequently request specific therapies from their physicians. Combination therapy is vigorously discussed at professional meetings. We wished to determine if physician prescribing patterns for hypothyroidism changed during 2017 after specific educational events. <b>Methods:</b> A survey addressing treatment of hypothyroidism was emailed to American Thyroid Association (ATA) members on three occasions in 2017. The Spring emails were sent prior to a satellite symposium addressing hypothyroidism, and prior to the annual Endocrine Society and ATA meetings; the December emails were sent after these events. Physicians were presented with thirteen theoretical patients and chose from 6 therapeutic options, including levothyroxine, synthetic combination therapy, thyroid extract, and liothyronine monotherapy. The patient scenarios successively incorporated factors potentially providing reasons for considering combination therapy. Multivariate repeated measures logistic regression analyses first examined effects of physician characteristics on prescribing the various therapies. Then, analyses also incorporated timing, by comparing prescribing patterns in February, March, and December. <b>Results:</b> In analyses of prescribing levothyroxine monotherapy vs. any T3 therapy, there was a trend of borderline significance (p = 0.053) for T3 therapy to be prescribed more in December compared with February-March combined. When multivariate analyses were performed controlling for time and physician characteristics, choice of therapy was only significantly affected by country of practice (OR 1.7, CI 1.3-2.2). Physician choice of therapies was also examined for the options of continuing (1) levothyroxine, vs. (2) increasing levothyroxine, (3) adding liothyronine either with or without levothyroxine reduction, or (4) replacing levothyroxine with desiccated thyroid extract or liothyronine. When multivariate analyses incorporating time and physician characteristics were performed, respondents in December (OR 1.5, CI 1.0-2.3) and those practicing in North America (OR 1.8, CI 1.2-2.6) were more likely to prescribe liothyronine. <b>Conclusions:</b> This survey shows that although current North American guidelines do not recommend combination therapy, such therapy is being prescribed more over time and is also more commonly prescribed in North America. It is possible our guidelines are failing to incorporate evidence that physicians are considering when prescribing combination therapy. Such evidence could include data about patient preferences, and this needs to be a focus of future studies.

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