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The effective evaluation of thyroid status in patients on phenytoin, carbamazepine or sodium valproate attending an epilepsy clinic.
  1. A. A. Connacher,
  2. D. Q. Borsey,
  3. M. C. Browning,
  4. D. L. Davidson,
  5. R. T. Jung
  1. University Department of Medicine, Ninewells Hospital Dundee Scotland, UK.


    To assess the most efficient means of monitoring thyroid status in an epilepsy clinic, total thyroxine (T4), free thyroxine stimulating hormone (TSH) were measured in 71 adult patients treated long-term with either phenytoin (DPH), carbamazepine (CBZ) or sodium valproate (VAL). Twenty-seven patients with one or more abnormal thyroid hormone results were further investigated by a thyrotrophin releasing hormone (TRH) test and clinical assessment. T4 was found to be normal in 85% on VAL, 40% on CBZ and 39% on DPH. FT4 was normal in more patients, namely 95% on VAL, 70% on CBZ and 65% on DPH. The TRH tests indicated that FT4 was the most efficient screening test for hypothyroidism in this epileptic population. We estimate that the use of FT4 alone as a screening test would have reduced by 60% the number of TRH tests required.

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