Rheumatoid Arthritis Associated With Thyroid Dysfunction

In a recent meta-analysis, researchers found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of developing thyroid dysfunction, particularly hypothyroidism. The data were presented in Frontiers in Endocrinology.

The study’s authors, led by Yi-Jing Liu, reviewed the PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases up to March 2022. A total of 29 studies that reported on at least one cast of thyroid dysfunction amongst enrolled patients and controls were included. The researchers calculated odds ratios (ORs) for thyroid dysfunction in the pooled cohort of 35,708 patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Reportedly, the analyses showed that patients with rheumatoid arthritis had an increased risk of developing thyroid dysfunction, especially hypothyroidism, which had an OR of 2.25 (95% CI, 1.78-2.84) when compared with patients without rheumatoid arthritis. The authors noted that heterogeneity between the included studies appeared to be due to study type and sample source of control group.

Overall, Liu and colleagues suggested that “routine biochemical examination of thyroid function in RA patients should be strengthened,” and that “larger prospective studies are needed to explore the causal relationship between RA and thyroid dysfunction, and to investigate the impact of thyroid dysfunction on RA disease activity, drug efficacy, and medication safety.”

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