Fatigue and fatigue-related symptoms in patients treated for different causes of hypothyroidism

M Louwerens, BC Appelhof, H Verloop, Marco Medici, Robin Peeters, Theo Visser, A Boelen, E Fliers, JWA Smit, OM Dekkers

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Objective: Research on determinants of well-being in patients on thyroid hormone replacement therapy is warranted, as persistent fatigue-related complaints are common in this population. In this study, we evaluated the impact of different states of hypothyroidism on fatigue and fatigue-related symptoms. Furthermore, the relationship between fatigue and the TSH receptor (TSHR)-Asp727Glu polymorphism, a common genetic variant of the TSHR, was analyzed. Design: A cross-sectional study was performed in 278 patients (140 patients treated for differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) and 138 with autoimmune hypothyroidism (AIH)) genotyped for the TSHR-Asp727Glu polymorphism. Methods: The multidimensional fatigue inventory (MFI-20) was used to assess fatigue, with higher MFI-20 scores indicating more fatigue-related complaints. MFI-20 scores were related to disease status and Asp727Glu polymorphism status. Results: AIH patients scored significantly higher than DTC patients on all five MFI-20 subscales (P < 0.001), independent of clinical and thyroid hormone parameters. The frequency of the TSHR-Glu727 allele was 7.2%. Heterozygous DTC patients had more favorable MFI-20 scores than wild-type DTC patients on four of five subscales. The modest effect of the TSHR-Asp727Glu polymorphism on fatigue was found in DTC patients only. Conclusions: AIH patients had significantly higher levels of fatigue compared with DTC patients, which could not be attributed to clinical or thyroid hormone parameters. The modest effect of the TSHR-Asp727Glu polymorphism on fatigue in DTC patients should be confirmed in other cohorts.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)809-815
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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  • EMC MM-01-39-03

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