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For how long does my infant need treatment for hypothyroidism?

Q: My 3 months old daughter had high TSH levels i.e. 30 when tested by the cord blood sample immediately after birth. The TSH was repeated with her blood sample after 5 days and it was again high at 60. The paediatrician put her on Thyronorm 50 mcg once a day. Now after 6 weeks, another test for TSH and Free T4 was done and the readings were: TSH - 0.02 (normal range - 0.35 - 5.5), Free T4 - 9.1 (normal range - 0.89 - 1.76). For how long should the treatment continue?

A:Your daughter's dose of Thyronorm does need some adjustment, which can be made by your doctor. The cause of hypothyroidism determines whether the child will need treatment for a lifetime or not. Since the cause has not been ascertained by a scan or antibodies etc., it may be difficult to comment on the duration of treatment. Once your daughter is 3 years old, the medication can be stopped for a while to see if the treatment needs to be continued or not. It is not safe to stop treatment prior to 3 years of age since the baby's brain is still developing and hypothyroidism can result in mental retardation.

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