Levothyroxine, is most commonly used to treat hypothyroidism–a condition where the thyroid doesn’t not produce the expected amount of thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism commonly affects elderly people, especially women. Levothyroxine is a thyroid hormone replacement which patients typically need to take for the rest of their lives. A recent study published by the British Medical Journal links use of levothyroxine to increased bone fractures in the elderly.
The research examined data on over 200,000 users of levothyroxine, and noted dosage amounts and length of time patients had taken the drug. They also adjusted for risk factors that might affect the rate of fractures, and found people over 70 had a “significantly increased risk of fracture, with a strong dose-response relation.”
The study suggests that dosage amounts should be adjusted for elderly patients. Women over the age of 50 are very susceptible to bone loss and bone thinning and they may be over-dosing. Higher doses of the hypothryroid medication may “increase the risk of fragility fractures in older people even at conventional dosages.” (LA Times)