Current and emerging treatment options for Graves’ hyperthyroidism
Prakash Abraham1, Shamasunder Acharya2
1Department of Endocrinology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, UK; 2Department of Endocrinology, John Hunter Hospital, New Lambton NSW, Australia
Abstract: Radioiodine, antithyroid drugs and surgery have been well established therapies for Graves’ hyperthyroidism for several decades. However there remain large variations in practice among physicians in the preferred modality and the method of administration. Patient choice and perceptions also play a big role in the choice of treatment. Radioiodine may be given using fixed high doses or by calculated doses following uptake studies. The risks of radioiodine including eye disease and the role of prophylactic steroid therapy are discussed. The commonly used antithyroid drugs include carbimazole, methimazole and propylthiouracil; however a number of other agents have been tried in special situations or in combination with these drugs. The antithyroid drugs may be given in high (using additional levothyroxine in a block–replace regimen) or low doses (in a titration regimen). This review examines the current evidence and relative benefits for these options as well as looking at emerging therapies including immunomodulatory treatments such as rituximab which have come into early clinical trials. The use of antithyroid therapies in special situations is also discussed as well as clinical practice issues which may influence the choices.
Keywords: Graves’ hyperthyroidism, radioiodine, antithyroid drugs, methimazole, propylthiouracil
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