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Thyroid detectives: on the trail of Munchausen’s syndrome
  1. Partha Pratim Chakraborty1,
  2. Soumik Goswami2,
  3. Rana Bhattacharjee3 and
  4. Subhankar Chowdhury3
  1. 1 Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  2. 2 Endocrinology, Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  3. 3 Endocrinology and Metabolism, IPGME&R and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Partha Pratim Chakraborty, docparthapc{at}


Thyrotoxicosis factitia, a disorder frequently seen in young or middle-aged women with psychological disorders, most commonly results from surreptitious ingestion of excess thyroid hormones. In most patients, diagnosis is relatively straightforward and depends on the demonstration of biochemical thyrotoxicosis, suppressed endogenous thyroid function and absence of clinical features of underlying thyroid disease. However, at times, confounding factors can make the diagnosis particularly challenging and necessitate the investigating physician to don the detective’s cap to get to the root of the problem. We discuss a patient whose diagnosis was reached with ingenuity after considerable effort from four endocrinologists having a total experience of 37 years in their field.

  • endocrine system
  • thyroid disease
  • general practice / family medicine

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  • Contributors PPC, SG, RB and SC were involved in the work-up and management of the patient. PPC and SG did the literature search and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.