Preliminary Report| Volume 51, ISSUE 11, P1381-1383, November 2002

Triiodothyronine supplementation for hypothalamic obesity

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      Patients with suprasellar lesions develop profound hypothalamic obesity and listlessness with no effective treatment. We added triiodothyronine (T3) supplementation in 3 such patients and present their response. All had previous nutritional counseling without benefit. All were treated for diabetes insipidus (DI) and hypopituitarism; serum free thyroxine (T4) level was normal. A 24-year-old woman (pineal tumor and astrocytoma) had weight gain (4.7 kg/yr for 3 years), cold intolerance, fatigue, dry skin, and constipation; after T3, she lost 14 kg over 27 months and reported overall improvement. Her bone mineral density also improved. A 10.6-year-old boy (optic glioma) was gaining 6 kg/yr for 4 years; after T3 supplement, he lost 4.3 kg over 11 months. A 12-year-old girl (mixed germ cell tumor) had weight gain (8.3 kg/yr for 3 years) and listlessness; after T3, she lost 8.1 kg over 16 months and had improved alertness. All patients were asymptomatic despite supraphysiologic T3 levels. We suggest that T3 may serve as a simple and effective supplement, which can promote weight loss and improve the well being of these patients with hypothalamic obesity.
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