Does initial dosing of levothyroxine in infants with congenital hypothyroidism lead to frequent dose adjustments secondary to iatrogenic hyperthyroidism on follow-up?

Publication Date


Journal Title

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab


© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is the most common preventable cause of intellectual disability. The recommended starting dose of levothyroxine (LT4) is between 10 and 15 μg/kg, an extremely wide range. We hypothesized that a sizable proportion of newborns treated for CH at the higher end of the dosage range become biochemically hyperthyroid at a follow-up visit. This study is a retrospective chart review of infants with CH between 2002 and 2012. Of the 104 patients included in this analysis, the average age at diagnosis was 11 days and the average starting dose of LT4 was 12±2.5 μg/kg. At follow-up, 36.5% required a dose reduction because of iatrogenic hyperthyroxinemia, 51% required no dose adjustment and 12.5% required a dose increase due to an elevated thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The starting doses of LT4 for those requiring a dose reduction, those not requiring an adjustment and those requiring an increase in the dose were 13.2±2.4, 11.5±2.1 and 10.3±2.6 μg/kg/day, respectively (p≤0.0001). Of the 34% of infants treated with an initial dose of >12.5 μg/day, 57.1% required a dose reduction at follow-up, compared to 26.1% of those whose initial starting dose was ≤12.5 μg/kg/day (p=0.007). Following the guidelines for initiating therapy for CH, 36.5% of the infants required a dose reduction for iatrogenic hyperthyroxinemia. These infants received a higher dose of LT4 than the infants who either required no adjustment or required an increase in the dose. A narrower range for initial dosing in CH may be appropriate.

Volume Number


Issue Number



597 - 600

Document Type



Faculty; Northwell Resident


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

Primary Department

General Pediatrics





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