Elderly patients who suffer from hypothyroidism are at a greater risk of suffering fractures since they may be taking excessive medications, according to a new report published on the British Medical Journal website.
Patients who suffer from hypothyroidism, a condition where in thyroid glands do not produce sufficient amount of the hormone, are usually given a synthetic hormone known as thyroxine. However researchers from the Women's College Research Institute in Toronto suggest that many elderly patients are being given "excessive" medication and this has increased the fragility of their bones.
More than 213,000 patients over the age of 70 years were involved in the study, all of whom had been given at least one prescription for levothyroxine during the period between 2002 and 2007. The participants were divided into three groups, the first involving those who were currently taking levothyroxine, second who had stopped the medication between 15 to 180 days prior to the study and the third consisting of those who had stopped the medication more than 180 days before.
The researchers found that while just over 10 percent of the total participants suffered fracture during the study, the first two groups had a larger risk of suffering from fractures.
"Our findings provide evidence that levothyroxine treatment may increase the risk of fragility fractures in older people even at conventional dosages, suggesting that closer monitoring and modification of treatment targets may be warranted in this vulnerable population", the researchers wrote.