Hypokalemic periodic paralysis is an uncommon complication of thyrotoxicosis especially in Caucasian women. It is most frequent in east asian and Japanese males and is characterized by recurrent episodes of motor weekness of variable intensity associated with hyperthyroidism. It is usually associated with low plasma potassium levels and is often precipitated by physical activity. This condition is a self limiting disorder that is cured by the treatment of the underlying hyperthyroidism. We report two cases of acute onset weakness followed by paraplegia from periodic paralysis in two Caucasian female patients aged 69, 51 respectively. Both patients presented hypokalemia and thyroid function tests showed hyperthyroidism. Oral potassium and antithyroid drugs (thiocarbamides) resulted in disappearance of symptoms. Thyrotoxic hypokalemic periodic paralysis is often under-recognized. This cases shows that thyrotoxic hypokalemic periodic paralysis is not confined only to east-asian males but also to Caucasian females. The treatment with antithyroid drugs and oral potassium given as soon is possible is successful.
28 Apr - 02 May 2007
European Society of Endocrinology