What is the Treatment for Subacute Thyroiditis?

About Subacute Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is a pathological condition involving the thyroid gland which gets inflamed. Anatomically, the thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck and is responsible for secreting host of hormones which regulate the metabolic activity of the body. The hormones released by the thyroid gland also are crucial in how an individual reacts physically and emotionally like fear, happiness, and excitement.

When the thyroid gets inflamed it leads to either increased or depleted levels of TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormones with their own sets of symptoms. An overactive thyroid leads to condition called Hyperthyroidism whereas an underactive thyroid leads to hypothyroidism.

Primary presenting features in these two conditions are quite similar to include lethargy, anxiety, depression, and alteration of weight. Among all types of thyroiditis, the Subacute Form is quite rare as it tends to cause pain in the region of the thyroid gland.

Individuals with Acute Thyroiditis tend to have symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and as the condition progresses start having symptoms of hypothyroidism as well.

Subacute Thyroiditis is usually a temporary condition but if it is left untreated then it may cause potentially serious complications.

What is the Treatment for Subacute Thyroiditis?

What is the Treatment for Subacute Thyroiditis?

Once a confirmatory diagnosis of Subacute Thyroiditis is made, treatment usually is started with medication for pain relief and calming down the inflammation. In most cases, administration of medication is good enough to treat this condition. Generally, the medications used for treating Subacute Thyroiditis are NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen work quite effectively in calming down pain and inflammation.

Tylenol does not work as effectively as the other two medications mentioned because the level of inflammation in the thyroid does not come down with this medication. If NSAIDs are not effective in reducing the symptoms then the physician may recommend steroids to treat Subacute Thyroiditis.

Prednisone in tapering doses over a period of four weeks is by far the most preferred medication to treat this condition. Betablockers are also administered in some individuals with Subacute Thyroiditis, especially for symptoms of hyperthyroidism in the initial phase of the condition. These medications bring the blood pressure and the heart rate down resulting in symptom relief.

The treatment of Subacute Thyroiditis begins with early treatment of Hyperthyroidism, although if the condition has progressed then these treatments may not be effective as hypothyroidism sets in. Once the individual goes into the latter phases of the disease hormone supplements are required to regulate the depleted levels of TSH.

As Subacute Thyroiditis is a temporary condition, the patient will require treatment only for a short period of time until the condition resolves. As the root cause of this condition is not known, there is no way to prevent an onset of Subacute Thyroiditis.

In many cases, an individual may not even know that he may be having Subacute Thyroiditis and the condition resolves on its own. However there may be some damage done to the thyroid gland and the overall prognosis of this condition depends on the extent of it.

In cases if significant damage is inflicted, then the patient may require continuous treatment for a prolonged period of time for successful treatment of Subacute Thyroiditis.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 20, 2019

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