TSH Elevated in 6 Percent of Psychiatrically Hospitalized Youth

Elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone linked to recent weight gain, treatment with benzodiazepines

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- About 6 percent of psychiatrically hospitalized youth have abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) measures, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Marissa J. Luft, from the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues conducted a retrospective examination of screening TSH concentrations in 1,017 psychiatrically hospitalized children and adolescents (aged 3 to 19 years) with mood/anxiety disorders. Symptoms were extracted from medical records using adaptive natural language processing algorithms.

The researchers found that 62 patients had a TSH concentration >3.74 µlU/mL (5.3 percent of patients <12 years and 6.2 percent of patients ≥12 years) and seven had a TSH concentration <0.36 µlU/mL. There were correlations for elevated TSH concentration with recent weight gain, history of thyroid disease, abnormal menstrual bleeding/menometrorrhagia, and benzodiazepine treatment (odds ratios, 3.60, 6.88, 2.03, and 2.29, respectively). No correlations were noted for sex, age, or body mass index z score. Overall, 12.9 percent of patients with elevated TSH measures had an abnormal free/total thyroxine level or other biochemical findings consistent with thyroid disease.

"Despite being a routine screening test in pediatric patients at the time of psychiatric admission, the prevalence of thyroid disorders is poorly characterized in pediatric populations, and there is conflicting evidence on the utility of thyroid function screening in patients with severe mood and anxiety disorders," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and publishing industries.

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