oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Ethionamide-induced hypothyroidism in children : original research

Volume 26, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



Ethionamide is a second-line anti-tuberculosis drug used in the management of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Hypothyroidism is reported to be a rare adverse effect. A retrospective descriptive study was done of all children started on treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis from 2006-2009, who received ethionamide as part of their drug regimen. Information collected included age, weight, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, ethionamide dose and thyroid function tests. Seven of 13 (54%) children developed hypothyroidism and received thyroxine for the duration of ethionamide treatment. Thyroid function returned to normal within two months of completion of tuberculosis treatment in six of the seven children (one lost to follow-up). Ethionamide-induced hypothyroidism is more common in this small number of patients than previously reported. The results warrant further studies to confirm these findings and elucidate possible reasons.

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