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Ferrous Sulfate Reduces Thyroxine Efficacy In Patients With Hypothyroidism.

N. Campbell, B. Hasinoff, H. Stalts, B. Rao, N. Wong
Published 1992 · Medicine

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OBJECTIVE To determine whether simultaneous ingestion of ferrous sulfate and thyroxine reduces the efficacy of thyroid hormone in patients with primary hypothyroidism. DESIGN Uncontrolled clinical trial. SETTING Outpatient research clinic of a tertiary care center. PATIENTS Fourteen patients with established primary hypothyroidism on stable thyroxine replacement. INTERVENTION All patients were instructed to ingest simultaneously, a 300-mg ferrous sulfate tablet and their usual thyroxine dose every day for 12 weeks. RESULTS After 12 weeks of ferrous sulfate ingestion with thyroxine, the mean level of serum thyrotropin (thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH) rose from 1.6 +/- 0.4 to 5.4 +/- 2.8 mU/L (P < 0.01), but the free thyroxine index did not change significantly. Subjective evaluation using a clinical score showed that nine patients had an increase in symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism; the mean score for the 14 patients changed from 0 to 1.3 +/- 0.4 (P = 0.011). When iron and thyroxine were mixed together in vitro, a poorly soluble purple complex appeared that indicated the binding of iron to thyroxine. CONCLUSIONS Simultaneous ingestion of ferrous sulfate and thyroxine causes a variable reduction in thyroxine efficacy that is clinically significant in some patients. The interaction is probably caused by the binding of iron to thyroxine.
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