Acute Hypothyroidism

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After having your thyroid removed, acute hypothyroidism can occur when the doctor stops your thyroid hormone for a period of 4-6 weeks, to prepare you for radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation or diagnostic testing.1

After your surgery your doctor may decide that additional treatments or tests are needed that require a high level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). To obtain a high level of TSH your doctor may choose to stop your thyroid hormone medication for 4-6 weeks. This is called thyroid hormone withdrawal (THW) to prepare your body for:

During the THW phase, you may experience the signs and symptoms of acute hypothyroidism.

Stopping thyroid hormone medication for 4-6 weeks may cause you to have unwanted symptoms.2

Discuss Options with your doctor that help you avoid thyroid hormone withdrawal and its associated symptoms of acute hypothyroidism.

Results of a multi-center survey showcasing differing perspectives of doctors and patients regarding the symptoms of acute hypothyroidism caused by thyroid hormone withdrawal (THW)3

The multi-center survey showed a substantial gap in the level of perception of the severity of acute hypothyroid symptoms between physicians and patients during thyroid hormone withdrawal.

The Survey Called to Attention Some Important Points:

Doctor Perspectives

  • Usually, doctors have specific knowledge about the symptoms of acute hypothyroidism but they might not have sufficient recognition of the severity of the symptoms experienced by their patients.
  • Despite recognizing that patients may experience negative effects from abruptly stopping thyroid hormone medication, few doctors recommend proper management of symptoms or suggest an alternative.

Patient Perspectives

  • Some patients do not recognize that delayed but still noticeable hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue, swelling, and constipation might be attributable to THW because they do not understand the delayed action of withdrawing thyroid hormone medication.
  • Therefore, many patients may frequently mistake that other causes such as radioiodine, not hypothyroidism due to THW, might have contributed to their symptoms.

Please learn about an alternative to THW and make an informed decision when preparing for radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation and/or diagnostic testing.

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Discuss an Alternative to Thyroid Hormone Withdrawal with your Doctor

Download the Doctor Discussion Guide.