Endocrinology in the time of COVID-19: Management of hyper- and hypo- thyroidism.

in European Journal of Endocrinology

Correspondence: Kristien Boelaert, Email: K.Boelaert@bham.ac.uk

This manuscript provides guidance on the management of thyroid dysfunction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Auto-immune thyroid diseases are not linked to increased risks of COVID-19. Uncontrolled thyrotoxicosis may result in more severe complications from SARS-CoV-2 infection, including thyroid storm.

The management of patients with a new diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is best undertaken with a block and replace regimen due to limited biochemical testing availability. Antithyroid drug (ATD)-induced neutropenia may favour the progression of COVID-19 and symptoms of infection may be confused with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The withdrawal of ATDs and urgent measurement of neutrophils should be considered in case of flu-like manifestations occurring in the initial months of treatment. Urgent surgery or 131-I may be undertaken in selected cases of uncontrolled thyrotoxicosis. Patients with COVID-19 infection may present with conjunctivitis, which could cause diagnostic difficulties in patients with new or existing Graves’ ophthalmopathy.

Patients who are on replacement treatment with thyroid hormones should ensure they have sufficient supply of medication. The usual advice to increase dosage of levothyroxine during pregnancy should be adhered to.

Many newly presenting and previously diagnosed patients with thyroid dysfunction can be managed through virtual telephone or video clinics supported by a dedicated nurse-led service, depending on available facilities.

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