Data_Sheet_1_A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Patient Preferences for Combination Thyroid Hormone Treatment for Hypothyroidism.PDF
Background: The standard of care in management of hypothyroidism is treatment with levothyroxine (L-T4). Sometimes patients are dissatisfied with L-T4 and the combination of levo-triiodothyronine (L-T3) with L-T4 is considered.
Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of blinded randomized controlled trials (RCTs), reporting how often hypothyroid patients prefer combination L-T3/L-T4 treatment to L-T4 alone. We also explored for explanatory factors for combination therapy preference in sensitivity analyses examining trial, patient, and disease characteristics. Potential dose-response relationships were explored using meta-regression analyses. We searched 9 electronic databases (from inception until February, 2019), supplemented with a hand-search. Two reviewers independently screened abstracts and citations and reviewed full-text papers, with consensus achieved on the included studies. Two reviewers independently critically appraised the quality of included studies and abstracted the data. Random effects meta-analyses were reported for the percentage of patients preferring combination L-T3/T-T4 therapy over L-T4 alone. A binomial distribution of choices (i.e., preference of combination therapy or no preference for combination therapy) was assumed.
Results: We included 7 blinded RCTs including 348 hypothyroid individuals in the primary meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence rate for preference of combination therapy over L-T4 was 46.2% (95% confidence interval 40.2%, 52.4%) (p = 0.231 for the difference from chance). There was no significant statistical heterogeneity among study results (Q = 7.32, degrees of freedom = 6, p = 0.293, I2 = 18.0%). In sensitivity analyses, combination treatment preference was explained in part by treatment effects on TSH concentration, mood and symptoms, but not quality of life nor body weight. In a secondary dose-response meta-regression analyses, a statistically significant association of treatment preference was identified for total daily L-T3 dose, but not L-T3:L-T4 dose ratio.
Conclusions: In conclusion, in RCTs in which patients and investigators were blinded to treatment allocation, approximately half of participants reported preferring combination L-T3 and L-T4 therapy compared to L-T4 alone; this finding was not distinguishable from chance. An observed potential positive L-T3 dose effect on treatment preference deserves further study, with careful consideration of thyroid biochemical indices and patient reported outcomes.