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Line Tang Møllehave Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Allan Linneberg Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Juliane Marie Centre, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Tea Skaaby Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Nils Knudsen Department of Endocrinology, Bispebjerg University Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Lars Ehlers Danish Center for Healthcare Improvements, Department of Business and Management, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

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Torben Jørgensen Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

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Betina Heinsbæk Thuesen Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Background: Iodine fortification (IF) may contribute to changes in costs of thyroid disease treatment through changes in disease patterns. From a health economic perspective, assessment of the development in costs of thyroid disease treatment in the population is pertinent. Objectives: To assess the trends in annual medicine and hospital costs of thyroid disease treatment during 1995–2015 in Denmark, i.e., before and after the introduction of mandatory IF in 2000. Methods: Information on treatments for thyroid disease (antithyroid medication, thyroid hormone therapy, thyroid surgery, and radioiodine treatment) was obtained from nationwide registers. Costs were valued at 2015 prices using sales prices for medicines and the Danish Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) and Danish Ambulatory Grouping System (DAGS) tariffs of surgeries/radioiodine treatments. Results were adjusted for changes in population size and age and sex distribution. Results: The total direct medicine and hospital costs of thyroid disease treatment increased from EUR ∼190,000 per 100,000 persons in 1995 to EUR ∼270,000 per 100,000 persons in 2015. This was mainly due to linearly increased costs of thyroid hormone therapy and increased costs of thyroid surgery since 2008. Costs of antithyroid medication increased slightly and transiently after IF, while costs of radioiodine treatment remained constant. Costs of thyroid hormone therapy and thyroid surgery did not follow the development in the prevalence of hypothyroidism and structural thyroid diseases observed in concurrent studies. Conclusion: The costs of total direct medicine and hospital costs for thyroid disease treatment in Denmark increased from 1995 to 2015. This is possibly due to several factors, e.g., changes in treatment practices, and the direct effect of IF alone remains to be estimated.

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Jeppe Lerche la Cour Center for Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Herlev and Gentofte Hospitals, Herlev, Denmark

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Line Tang Møllehave Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Capital Region, Denmark

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Bjarke Røssner Medici Center for Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Herlev and Gentofte Hospitals, Herlev, Denmark

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Christian Zinck Jensen Center for Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Herlev and Gentofte Hospitals, Herlev, Denmark

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Anne Ahrendt Bjerregaard Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Capital Region, Denmark

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Birte Nygaard Center for Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Herlev and Gentofte Hospitals, Herlev, Denmark
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Introduction

High compared with low educational level increases the odds of starting levothyroxine (L-T4) with a normal thyroid-stimulating hormone – the mechanism is most likely patient request. The use of liothyronine (L-T3) and desiccated thyroid extract (DTE) is also speculated to be initiated at patients’ request. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to evaluate if educational level influences treatment with L-T3 and DTE.

Material and methods

In this register-based cross-sectional study, we included all Danish citizens ≥30 years with redeemed prescription of L-T4, L-T3, or DTE during 2017–2020. We defined educational levels as short, medium, and long (<10 years, 10–12 years, and above 12 years, respectively). The association between educational level and treatment with LT3 or DTE vs only LT4 was analyzed in logistic regression models adjusted for age and sex.

Results

We included 154,360 individuals using thyroid medication of whom 3829 were treated with L-T3 (2.48%) and 430 with DTE (0.28%). The usage was highest among women (3.15%) and the age group 40–49 (5.6%). Longer education compared with short increased the odds of being treated with DTE or L-T3 (medium education odds ratio (OR) 1.61 (95% CI 1.50–1.8) and long education OR 1.95 (95% CI 1.79–2.13)). Test for trend: OR: 1.37 (95% CI 1.31–1.42). Adjustment for other covariates did not affect the results substantially.

Conclusion

Persons with a longer compared to a shorter education are more often treated with either DTE or L-T3, and the usage of these drugs is limited to less than 3% of thyroid hormone users.

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Line Tang Møllehave Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen University Hospital - Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Nils Knudsen Department of Endocrinology, Bispebjerg University Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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Allan Linneberg Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen University Hospital - Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Inge Bülow Pedersen Department of Endocrinology and Medicine, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

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Gitte Ravn-Haren Research Group for Risk Benefit, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark

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Anja Lykke Madsen Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen University Hospital - Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Allan Carlé Department of Endocrinology and Medicine, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

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Charlotte Cerqueira The Danish Clinical Quality Program – National Clinical Registries (RKKP), Denmark

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Anne Krejbjerg Department of Oncology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

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Lone Banke Rasmussen Independent researcher, Klemensker, Denmark

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Lars Ovesen Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen University Hospital - Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Hans Perrild Department of Endocrinology, Bispebjerg University Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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Lena Bjergved Sigurd Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Internal Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital – Herlev and Gentofte, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Betina Heinsbæk Thuesen Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen University Hospital - Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Pernille Vejbjerg Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen University Hospital - Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Torben Jørgensen Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen University Hospital - Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Due to mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency in Denmark, health authorities initiated a voluntary iodine fortification (IF) program in 1998, which became mandatory in 2000. In line with recommendations from the World Health Organization, the Danish investigation on iodine intake and thyroid disease (DanThyr) was established to monitor the effect on thyroid health and disease. The program involved different study designs and followed two Danish sub-populations in the years before IF and up till 20 years after. Results showed that the IF was successfully implemented and increased the level of iodine intake from mild–moderate iodine deficiency to low adequacy. The level of thyroglobulin and thyroid volume decreased following IF, and there was an indication of fewer thyroid nodules. The incidence of hyperthyroidism increased transiently following IF but subsequently decreased below the pre-fortification level. Conversely, thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and the prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity increased along with an increase in the incidence of hypothyroidism. These trends were mirrored in the trends in treatments for thyroid disease. Most differences in thyroid health and disease between regions with different iodine intake levels before IF attenuated. This review illustrates the importance of a monitoring program to detect both beneficial and adverse effects and exemplifies how a monitoring program can be conducted when a nationwide health promotion program – as IF – is initiated.

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