Teriparatide therapy and reduced postoperative hospitalization for postsurgical hypoparathyroidism

Meera Shah, Irina Bancos, Geoffrey B. Thompson, Melanie L. Richards, Jan L. Kasperbauer, Bart L. Clarke, Matthew T. Drake, Marius N. Stan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE Up to 20%of patients undergoing thyroidectomy develop hypocalcemia after surgery. Although usually transient, severe symptomatic hypocalcemia may occur. Teriparatide acetate (recombinant human parathyroid hormone 1-34) therapy can rapidly raise calcium levels. OBJECTIVE To test the hypothesis that teriparatide therapy in patients with postthyroidectomy hypoparathyroidism would expedite relief of symptomatic hypocalcemia and reduce the duration of hospitalization compared with standard treatment. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Case series of all hospitalized patients 18 years or older treated with teriparatide for symptomatic postthyroidectomy hypocalcemia occurring immediately after thyroidectomy atMayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, between January 1, 2008, and June 30, 2014. A secondary analysis was performed with matched control and cohort groups having postthyroidectomy hypocalcemia of similar degree who received standard treatment only. Participants included 8 hospitalized patients who received teriparatide therapy after 24 hours of standard treatment (cases) and eight control patients selected from a cohort of 1193 thyroidectomies were matched for age, sex, body mass index, and nadir calcium levels. INTERVENTION Teriparatide acetate therapy (20 μg twice daily) subcutaneously for 1 week, with the option of continuing at 20 μg/d for up to 3 weeks. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Safety, symptom resolution, calcium supplementation, and duration of hospitalization. RESULTS Among the 16 case and control patients the median nadir calcium level was 7.1mg/dL in both groups. Most patients underwent thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer. Teriparatide therapy was safe, with no adverse events noted, and completely eliminated symptomatic hypocalcemia in all treated patients within 24 hours of initiation. Hospital discharge occurred at a median of 1.0 day (interquartile range, 1.0-1.0 day) after teriparatide therapy initiation among cases vs 2.5 days (interquartile range, 1.8-3.0 days) after the equivalent clinical point was reached in controls (P = .01). This value was 2.0 days in the source cohort (P = .02). On hospital discharge, patients had similar calcium levels. Six months after surgery, all patients treated with teriparatide showed partial or complete parathyroid recovery. Calcium supplementation and calcium levels were comparable between the groups. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In this pilot study, teriparatide therapy in patients with postthyroidectomy hypoparathyroidism was safe, rapidly eliminated hypocalcemic symptoms, and likely reduced the duration of hospitalization. Given the limitations of this small study, a large-scale randomized trial is needed to verify these results and to assess the long-Term effect of teriparatide therapy on clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-827
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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