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Thyroiditis Medication

  • Author: Robert P Hoffman, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kemp, MD, PhD  more...
Updated: Sep 04, 2015


Class Summary

These agents are used to treat acute suppurative thyroiditis. First-line antibiotic choices to treat acute thyroiditis include parenteral penicillin or ampicillin. These drugs cover most of the gram-positive cocci and anaerobes that cause the disease.

Penicillin G (Pfizerpen)


Antibiotic with activity against gram-positive, some gram-negative, and some anaerobic bacteria. Penicillin binds to PBPs, inhibiting bacterial cell wall growth.

Ampicillin (Principen)


Penicillin antibiotic with activity against gram-positive and some gram-negative bacteria. Binds to PBPs, inhibiting bacterial cell wall growth.


Anti-inflammatory drugs

Class Summary

These drugs are used to decrease discomfort in patients with subacute thyroiditis.

Aspirin (Anacin, Bayer)


Most patients respond well to aspirin as a first-line therapy. Treats mild to moderate pain. Inhibits prostaglandin synthesis, which prevents formation of platelet-aggregating thromboxane A2.

Prednisone (Sterapred)


Used when aspirin is ineffective in controlling discomfort in patients with subacute thyroiditis. May decrease inflammation by reversing increased capillary permeability and suppressing PMN activity.


Beta-adrenergic blocking agents

Class Summary

Many signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism are due to increased beta-adrenergic sensitivity. In particular, these include the hemodynamic abnormalities of tachycardia and hypertension. Beta-adrenergic blockade can reduce many of these symptoms. These agents are the DOC in treating cardiac arrhythmias that result from hyperthyroidism. These agents control cardiac and psychomotor manifestations within minutes.

Propranolol (Inderal)


Can be immediately initiated in patients with hyperthyroidism due to either subacute thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis. Because of the self-limiting nature of these situations, they may be the only drugs needed.



Class Summary

These agents are used to treat hypothyroidism due to autoimmune thyroiditis. Use thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels to monitor dose and keep them within the reference range.

Levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid)


Levothyroxine is a synthetic form of thyroxine involved in normal growth, metabolism, and development.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Robert P Hoffman, MD Professor and Program Director, Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University College of Medicine; Pediatric Endocrinologist, Division of Pediatric, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Nationwide Children's Hospital

Robert P Hoffman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Pediatricians, American Diabetes Association, American Pediatric Society, Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Endocrine Society, Midwest Society for Pediatric Research, Pediatric Endocrine Society, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Lynne Lipton Levitsky, MD Chief, Pediatric Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Lynne Lipton Levitsky, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Diabetes Association, American Pediatric Society, Endocrine Society, Pediatric Endocrine Society, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Received grant/research funds from Eli Lilly for pi; Received grant/research funds from NovoNordisk for pi; Received consulting fee from NovoNordisk for consulting; Partner received consulting fee from Onyx Heart Valve for consulting.

Chief Editor

Stephen Kemp, MD, PhD Former Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, Arkansas Children's Hospital

Stephen Kemp, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Pediatric Society, Endocrine Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Southern Medical Association, Southern Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Arlan L Rosenbloom, MD Adjunct Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine; Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology

Arlan L Rosenbloom, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Epidemiology, American Pediatric Society, Endocrine Society, Pediatric Endocrine Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Florida Chapter of The American Academy of Pediatrics, Florida Pediatric Society, International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Three multinuclear, giant cell granulomas observed in a fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid; from a patient with thyrotoxicosis from lymphocytic or subacute granulomatous thyroiditis.
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