Lithium-Induced Goiter Follow-up

Updated: Feb 27, 2015
  • Author: Nicholas J Sarlis, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Further Outpatient Care

A review of patient history, a physical examination, and an evaluation of thyrotropin levels are indicated within 6 months immediately after the initiation of lithium therapy and annually thereafter.

The treating physician must be aware that rare cases of thyrotoxicosis have been reported following discontinuation of lithium therapy.

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Further Inpatient Care

No further inpatient care is usually required.

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Transfer

All care is typically performed in an ambulatory clinic setting; thus, no specific transfer requirements are applicable.

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Deterrence/Prevention

For all patients on long-term lithium therapy, regular follow-up with an endocrinologist is indicated, starting within 6 months immediately after the initiation of lithium therapy and continuing annually thereafter (with thyrotropin levels and neck palpation).

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Complications

Potential complications include the following:

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Prognosis

The long-term prognosis ranges from very good to excellent.

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Patient Education

Regularly educate patients with regard to the possibility of thyroid dysfunction with long-term lithium treatment.

For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicineHealth's Thyroid and Metabolism Center. Also, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Thyroid Problems.

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