Intended for healthcare professionals


Diagnosis and treatment of primary hypothyroidism

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 27 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b725
  1. Amit Allahabadia, secretary, British Thyroid Association,
  2. Salman Razvi, treasurer, British Thyroid Association,
  3. Prakash Abraham, assistant secretary, British Thyroid Association,
  4. Jayne Franklyn, president, British Thyroid Association
  1. 1Department of Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield S10 3JF
  1. amit.allahabadia{at}

New guidance highlights how to do it in primary care

Primary hypothyroidism or underactivity of the thyroid gland is common and is usually managed in primary care.1 In recent years, increasing numbers of patients with and without confirmed thyroid disease have been diagnosed and treated inappropriately using levothyroxine and other thyroid hormones. Management that falls outside good practice as defined nationally and internationally by accredited thyroid experts may compromise patients’ safety. This is potentially an enormous problem, given that in any one year one in four people in the United Kingdom have their thyroid function checked.2 3

The Royal College of Physicians, working closely with several specialist professional associations and patient associations with interests in the safe management of thyroid diseases, has recently produced a statement on the diagnosis and management of primary hypothyroidism. This statement sets out clear guidance for general practitioners and the wider medical profession regarding the diagnosis and treatment of primary hypothyroidism in the United Kingdom.3 …

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