Screening and treatment of subclinical thyroid dysfunction inadequately studied

Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377

A new research review, Effectiveness of Subclinical Hypothyroidism or Subclinical Hyperthyroidism, focuses on whether evidence demonstrates that treatment improves morbidity rates in adults with screen-detected thyroid disease, as well as the benefits and harms of treating subclinical hypo- or hyperthyroidism. The report updates a 2004 United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) report.

The 2004 USPSTF report established that subclinical thyroid dysfunction is quite prevalent and that the serum thyroid stimulating hormone test is a readily available, reliable, and acceptable test to detect the condition. However, in 2004, it remained unclear whether treating subclinical thyroid dysfunction would reduce morbidity.

This review by the Effective Health Care Program of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicates that the benefits and harms of screening for subclinical thyroid dysfunction remain inadequately studied. It also highlights the need for more research related to treatment for subclinical hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Larger clinical trials that are longer in duration would help improve the quality of evidence for all of these outcomes.

You can read the full review at the Effective Health Care Program Web site at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productid=750&PCem=RA.

Current as of January 2012
Internet Citation: Screening and treatment of subclinical thyroid dysfunction inadequately studied: Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377. January 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jan12/0112RA32.html