Pharmacotherapy for thyroid nodules: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Alberto L. Rosa, Tetsuo Ashizawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The review highlights the uncertainty in the management of nodular thyroid disease. Thyroxine suppressive treatment is given in the hope that nodules might decrease in size, sometimes assuming that dependency on TSH is different in benign and malignant nodular disease. Follow-up of benign nodules over 10 years suggested that most remain the same, shrink, or disappear [14]. TSH suppression may lead to hyperthyroidism, reduced bone density [37,39], and atrial fibrillation; however, apart from reduction of nodule size or arrest in nodule growth, thyroxine therapy may benefit patients by reducing perinodular volume. Consequently, both pressure symptoms and cosmetic complaints could improve. Unfortunately, no information concerning symptoms or well-being is available from published randomized trials. In conclusion, more high quality studies of sufficient duration with adequate power estimation are needed. Uncertainty about predictors of response or the impact on outcomes that are important to patients leaves considerable doubt about the wisdom of applying suppressive therapy. Future studies should include patient-important outcomes including thyroid cancer incidence, health-related quality of life and costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-722
Number of pages24
JournalEndocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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