Levothyroxine in euthyroid thyroid peroxidase antibody positive women with recurrent pregnancy loss (T4LIFE trial): a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial

Myrthe M. van Dijk, Rosa Vissenberg, Eric Fliers, Joris A. M. van der Post, Marie-Louise P. van der Hoorn, Sabina de Weerd, Walter K. Kuchenbecker, Annemieke Hoek, J. Marko Sikkema, Harold R. Verhoeve, Kimiko A. Broeze, Corry H. de Koning, Willem Verpoest, Ole B. Christiansen, Carolien Koks, Jan P. de Bruin, Dimitri N. M. Papatsonis, Helen Torrance, Madelon van Wely, Peter H. BisschopMariëtte Goddijn

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BACKGROUND: Women positive for thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Ab) have a higher risk of recurrent pregnancy loss. Evidence on whether levothyroxine treatment improves pregnancy outcomes in women who are TPO-Ab positive women with recurrent pregnancy loss is scarce. The aim of this study was to determine if levothyroxine increases live birth rates in women who were TPO-Ab positive with recurrent pregnancy loss and normal thyroid function. METHODS: The T4LIFE trial was an international, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study done in 13 secondary and tertiary hospitals in the Netherlands, one tertiary hospital in Belgium, and one tertiary hospital in Denmark. Women (18-42 years) who were TPO-Ab positive, had two or more pregnancy losses, and had a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration within the institutional reference range were eligible for inclusion. Women were excluded if they had antiphospholipid syndrome (lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin IgG or IgM antibodies, or β2-glycoprotein-I IgG or IgM antibodies), other autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, previous enrolment in this trial, or contraindications for levothyroxine use. Before conception, women were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either levothyroxine or placebo orally once daily. The daily dose of levothyroxine was based on preconception TSH concentration and ranged from 0·5-1·0 μg/kg bodyweight. Levothyroxine or placebo was continued until the end of pregnancy. The primary outcome was live birth, defined as the birth of a living child beyond 24 weeks of gestation measured in the intention-to-treat population. The trial was registered within the Netherlands Trial Register, NTR3364 and with EudraCT, 2011-001820-39. RESULTS: Between Jan 1, 2013, and Sept 19, 2019, 187 women were included in the study: 94 (50%) were assigned to the levothyroxine group and 93 (50%) were assigned to the placebo group. The trial was prematurely stopped when 187 (78%) of the 240 predefined patients had been included because of slow recruitment. 47 (50%) women in the levothyroxine group and 45 (48%) women in the placebo group had live births (risk ratio 1·03 [95% CI 0·77 to 1·38]; absolute risk difference 1·6% [95% CI -12·7 to 15·9]). Seven (7%) women in the levothyroxine group and seven (8%) in the placebo group reported adverse events, none of them were directly related to the study procedure. INTERPRETATION: Compared with placebo, levothyroxine treatment did not result in higher live birth rates in euthyroid women with recurrent pregnancy loss who were positive for TPO-Ab. On the basis of our findings, we do not advise routine use of levothyroxine in women who are TPO-Ab positive with recurrent pregnancy loss and normal thyroid function. FUNDING: Dutch Organization for Health Research and Development, Fonds NutsOhra, Dutch Patient Organization of Thyroid Disorders, the Jan Dekkerstichting and Dr Ludgardine Bouwmanstichting, and a personal donation through the Dutch Patient Organization of Thyroid Disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-329
Number of pages8
JournalLancet diabetes & endocrinology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

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