Objectives: This study seeks to determine the prevalence and pattern of thyroid dysfunction in a group of adult psychiatric inpatients with chronic schizophrenia. We also hypothesize that raised thyroid hormones are associated with more severe psychopathology.Methods: Thyroid function tests were performed on 189 patients and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) was administered by a single rater on all patients. Results: There was a high prevalence of (36.4%) thyroid function test abnormalities but all patients except 1 were assessed to be clinically euthyroid. Free thyroxine (fT4) and triiodothyronine (fT3) were significantly higher in patients with mild (BPRS score, 10-20) and major syndrome (BPRS score, equal or above 21) compared to no syndrome (BPRS score, 0-9). No correlation was found between thyroid hormones and neuroleptic use. Conclusion: Although thyroid function test abnormalities are common in patients with chronic schizophrenia, clinical thyroid illness was absent. This calls for caution in the use and interpretation of thyroid function tests in patients with chronic schizophrenia.
Thyroid dysfunction can give rise to various psychiatric symptoms. While there is a persistent interest in the role of thyroid axis in affective disorders, there is limited data on the interaction of thyroid dysfunction with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
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