Myxedema coma during long-term amiodarone therapy

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      Amiodarone is a potent new antiarrhythmic drug that has multiple effects on thyroid function, including inhibition of extrathyroidal triiodothyronine production and rarely, iodine-induced hypothyroldism. This report describes a man with recurrent ventricular tachycardia in whom hypothyroidism developed during amiodarone therapy and who died of probable myxedema coma. Parenteral and oral thyroxine therapy promptly reduced serum thyroid-stimulating hormone concentrations without increasing the patient's very low serum triiodothyronine concentration. This response to thyroxine suggests that thyroxine itself may have biologic activity and participate directly in regulation of thyrotropln secretion. Because amiodarone-induced hypothyroidism may be life-threatening, thyroid function should be monitored before and during amiodarone therapy, and the drug discontinued or appropriate therapy instituted if hypothyroidism develops.
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