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Thyroid Diseases

Can Methylprednisolone Affect Results of a TSH Test?

07/18/2006

Question:

I have asthma. I am taking Methylprednisolone addition to Ketek for an upper respiratory infection. I am scheduled to have an initial TSH test to see if my thyroid is underactive. Can Methylprednisolone affect or alter the TSH test results? If so, how long should I wait after stopping Methylprednisolone to take the test to get a more accurate measurement? Thank you for your time.

Answer:

It's hard to give an exact answer to your question. Methylprednisolone belongs to a class of drugs called "glucocorticoids." We know that high doses of glucocorticoids can inhibit TSH secretion when they are first given, but it is not clear how significant the effect would be in a person in your situation or how long the inhibition would last. Since it is unclear how much effect your methylprednisolone would have on your TSH measurement, maybe it would be safest just to wait until you are off the methylprednisolone to do the test. Once you stop the methylprednisolone it would probably be best to wait about a week before getting the TSH measured.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University