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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-6

Coronavirus disease 2019 and thyroid disease: Position statement of Indian Thyroid Society

1 Department of Endocrinolog, PGIMS, Rohtak, India
2 Department of Endocrine Surgery, SGPGI, Lucknow, India
3 SKIMS, Srinagar, India
4 Department of Nuclear Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
5 Consultant Endocrinologist, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
6 Consultant Endocrinologist, Apollo Speciality Hospitals Vanagaram, India
7 Department of Endocrinology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, India
8 Army Research and Referral Hospital, New Delhi, India
9 Director & Consultant Endocrinologist, Centre for Diabetes and Endocrine Care- Bengaluru, India
10 Senior Consultant Endocrinologist, Aster Medcity Hospital, Kochi, India
11 Department of Medicine, MLN Medical College, Prayagraj, India
12 Consultant Endocrinologsit, Lilavati Hospital, Maharashtra, Mumbai, India
13 Department of Endocrinology, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research, Kolkata, India

Date of Submission09-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance09-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication24-Apr-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rajesh Rajput
Department of Endocrinology, PGIMS, Rohtak - 124 001, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/trp.trp_28_20

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How to cite this article:
Rajput R, Agarwal A, Ganie MA, Bal C S, Sharma D C, Seshadri K, Puttiyaveettil J, Kotwal N, Prasanna Kumar K M, Jayakumar R V, Bajaj S, Joshi S, Chowdhury S, Ghosh S. Coronavirus disease 2019 and thyroid disease: Position statement of Indian Thyroid Society. Thyroid Res Pract 2020;17:4-6

How to cite this URL:
Rajput R, Agarwal A, Ganie MA, Bal C S, Sharma D C, Seshadri K, Puttiyaveettil J, Kotwal N, Prasanna Kumar K M, Jayakumar R V, Bajaj S, Joshi S, Chowdhury S, Ghosh S. Coronavirus disease 2019 and thyroid disease: Position statement of Indian Thyroid Society. Thyroid Res Pract [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Aug 13];17:4-6. Available from: https://www.thetrp.net/text.asp?2020/17/1/4/283218

  About Coronavirus and Coronavirus Disease 2019 Top

Coronavirus belongs to a large family of single-stranded RNA viruses. Initially, the new virus was called 2019-nCoV. Later, it was renamed as SARS-CoV-2 virus as it is very similar to the one that caused the SARS outbreak (SARS-CoVs) in 2002–2003. Disease caused by this virus is called as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).[1]

COVID-19 can spread from one person to another through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. Fever, tiredness, and dry cough are the most common symptoms of COVID-19. Some patients may also have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. Usually, these symptoms are mild and begin gradually. About 80% of patients recover from the disease without any special treatment. Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty in breathing. Elderly people, and those with medical conditions such as hypertension, cardiac problems or diabetes, chronic obstructive airway disease, are more likely to develop serious illness.[2]

  Thyroid Disorders in India Top

Thyroid diseases are common worldwide. In India too, there is a significant burden of thyroid diseases.

  • Among adult people in India, the prevalence of hypothyroidism is 10.95% (approximately 1 in 10 adults). The prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism was also high in this study, the value being 8%[3]
  • Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is the most common cause of preventable mental retardation. A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research between 2007 and 2012 reported the overall incidence of CH to be 1:1130 newborns[4]
  • In India, the overall prevalence of hyperthyroidism is reported to be 0.6%–1.9% which can be overt or subclinical[3],[5]
  • In India, the age-adjusted incidence rates of thyroid cancer per 100,000 are about 1 for male and 1.8 for female and the most common type of thyroid cancer is papillary thyroid cancer, followed by follicular thyroid cancer[5]
  • Patients with hypothyroidism show a greater propensity for comorbidities and complications as compared to the general population

    • Diabetes: Hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus (DM) are the most common endocrine disorders in clinical practice and are often associated in the same individual. The prevalence of hypothyroidism in type 2 DM (T2DM) in India was found to be about 24%[6]
    • Dyslipidemia: Hypothyroidism has significant impact on lipids as well as other cardiovascular risk factors. Fifteen percent of dyslipidemics may have hypothyroidism as underlying cause[7]
    • Hypertension: Hypothyroidism is a remediable cause of hypertension. The prevalence of hypothyroidism in T2DM and hypertension in India was found to be about 33%.[6]

  Hypothyroidism and Coronavirus Disease 2019 Top

  • There is no information on how it affects individuals with hypothyroidism. As such patients with hypothyroidism are not at increased risk of viral infections in general and there is no association between hypothyroidism and severity of viral infection[8]
  • It is recommended that patients with hypothyroidism should continue taking their levothyroxine treatment as suggested
  • Hypothyroidism in pregnancy:[9]

    • There is no evidence that suggests that pregnant women are at increased risk of COVID-19
    • Pregnancy alters the body's immune system and response to viral infections in general, which can occasionally be related to more severe symptoms, and this will be the same for COVID-19
    • Pregnant patients with hypothyroidism should continue taking levothyroxine treatment.

  • Patients with hypothyroidism and other comorbidities:

    • Most distinctive comorbidities reported with COVID-19 patients are diabetes, coronary heart diseases, cerebrovascular disease, and hypertension[10]
    • Diabetes: Both diabetes type 1 and 2 can increase risk of contraction of COVID-19 due to immune dysfunction[11]
    • Patients with hypothyroidism and other comorbidities such as diabetes, cardiac disease, and hypertension are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection and such patients need to take more precautions.

  Thyrotoxicosis and Coronavirus Disease 2019 Top

  • There is no information on how it affects individuals with thyrotoxicosis. However, uncontrolled thyrotoxicosis may be at higher risk of complications (such as thyroid storm) from any infection. It is recommended that patients with thyrotoxicosis continue taking their thyroid medication(s) to reduce this risk[8]
  • Antithyroid drugs (ATDs) are not known to increase the risk of infection, unless they result in neutropenia, which is very rare. Patients on ATDs are not at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or of developing more severe disease in the event of contracting the infection[8]
  • Patients on corticosteroids or immunosuppressive agents for thyroid eye disease are more susceptible and are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and such patients need to take more precautions[12]
  • Any nonurgent surgeries or procedures for definitive treatment for thyrotoxicosis should be postponed[8]

  Thyroid Cancer and Coronavirus Disease 2019 Top

  • There is no evidence that patients who have recently had radioiodine therapy or thyroid surgery for thyroid cancer are at increased risk of COVID-19[13]
  • All elective surgeries for thyroid cancer should be postponed
  • Patients on suppressive doses of levothyroxine should continue their current dose. Being on suppressive dose of levothyroxine does not increase the risk of COVID-19 infection.

  Recommendations for Thyroid Function Test in Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 Infection Top

  • In COVID-19 patients with existing thyroid disease and on thyroid medications, if there is no indication, thyroid function test (TFT) should not be repeated
  • In COVID-19 patients admitted in the intensive care unit, routine TFT is not recommended. There is no benefit of levothyroxine treatment in patients with euthyroid sick syndrome.

  Protective Measures to Avoid Infection Top

  • Patients should continue taking prescribed medications
  • It is recommended that patients should have adequate supply of medications but should avoid overstocking
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Keep a distance of at least 1 m from people with a cough, cold, or flu
  • Patients should adhere to social distancing guidelines.

  References Top

Cascella M, Rajnik M, Cuomo A, Dulebohn SC, Napoli DR. Features, Evaluation and Treatment Coronavirus (COVID-19). In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020. [Last updated on 2020 Mar 20].  Back to cited text no. 1
Available from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 01].  Back to cited text no. 2
Unnikrishnan AG, Kalra S, Sahay RK, Bantwal G, John M, Tewari N. Prevalence of hypothyroidism in adults: An epidemiological study in eight cities of India. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2013;17:647-52.  Back to cited text no. 3
Verma IC, Bijarnia-Mahay S, Jhingan G, Verma J. Newborn screening: Need of the hour in India. Indian J Pediatr 2015;82:61-70.  Back to cited text no. 4
Unnikrishnan AG, Menon UV. Thyroid disorders in India: An epidemiological perspective. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2011;15:S78-81.  Back to cited text no. 5
Talwalkar P, Deshmukh V, Bhole M. Prevalence of hypothyroidism in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension in India: A cross-sectional observational study. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes 2019;12:369-76.  Back to cited text no. 6
Willard DL, Leung AM, Pearce EN. Thyroid function testing in patients with newly diagnosed hyperlipidemia. JAMA Intern Med 2014;174: 287-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
BTA/SFE Statement Regarding Issues Specific to Thyroid Dysfunction During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Available from: https://www.british-thyroid-association.org/sandbox/bta2016/management-of-thyroid-dysfunction-during-covid-19_final.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 01].  Back to cited text no. 8
Guidance for Maternal Medicine in the Evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. Available from: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2020-03-30-guidance-for-maternal-medicine-in-the-evolving-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 01].  Back to cited text no. 9
Fang L, Karakiulakis G, Roth M. Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection? Lancet Respir Med 2020;8:e21.   Back to cited text no. 10
AACE Position Statement: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and People with Diabetes. Available from: https://www.aace.com/recent-news-and-updates/aace-position-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-and-people-diabetes. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 01].  Back to cited text no. 11
Thyroid Cancer and Coronavirus (COVID-19). Available from: https://www.btf-thyroid.org/thyroid-cancer-and-coronavirus. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 01].  Back to cited text no. 13

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