OBJECTIVE: Iodine is essential for normal thyroid function and the majority of individuals tolerate a wide range of dietary levels. However, a subset of individuals, on exposure to iodine, develop thyroid dysfunction. In this double-blind trial, we evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of low-dose iodine compared with those of levo-thyroxine (T4) in patients with endemic goitre. METHODS: Sixty-two patients were assigned randomly to groups to receive iodine (0.5 mg/day) or T4 (0.125 mg/day) for 6 months. Subsequently, both groups were subject to placebo for another 6 months. Thyroid sonography, determination of thyroid-related hormones and antibodies, and urinary excretion of iodine were carried out at baseline and at 1, 6 and 12 months. RESULTS: At 6 months, markedly increased urinary values of iodine were found in patients receiving iodine (36 microg/24 h at baseline, 415 microg/24 h at 6 months) compared with those receiving T4 (47 microg/ 24 h at baseline, 165 microg/24 h at 6 months; P < 0.0001 compared with iodine group). T4 administration engendered a greater (P < 0.01) decrease in thyroid volume (from 32 ml to 17 ml, P < 0.0001) than did intake of iodine (3 3 ml to 21 ml. P < 0.005). High microsomal and thyroglobulin autoantibody titres were present in six of 31 patients (19%) receiving iodine, and iodine-induced hypo- and hyperthyroidism developed in four and two of them, respectively. Fine-needle biopsy revealed marked lymphocyte infiltration in all six. After withdrawal of iodine thyroid dysfunction remitted spontaneously and antibody titres and lymphocyte infiltration decreased markedly. Follow-up of these six patients for an additional 3 years showed normalisation of antibody titres in four of them. CONCLUSION: Although nearly comparable results were obtained with both treatment regimens regarding thyroid size, partly reversible iodine-induced thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity were observed among patients with endemic goitre.
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GJ Kahaly, HP Dienes, J Beyer, and G Hommel
W M Wiersinga, P Perros, G J Kahaly, M P Mourits, L Baldeschi, K Boboridis, A Boschi, A J Dickinson, P Kendall-Taylor, G E Krassas, C M Lane, J H Lazarus, C Marcocci, M Marino, M Nardi, C Neoh, J Orgiazzi, A Pinchera, S Pitz, M F Prummel, M S Sartini, M Stahl, and G von Arx
Group-author : The European Group on Graves’ Orbitopathy (EUGOGO)
P Perros, L Baldeschi, K Boboridis, A J Dickinson, A Hullo, G J Kahaly, P Kendall-Taylor, G E Krassas, C M Lane, J H Lazarus, C Marcocci, M Marino, M P Mourits, M Nardi, J Orgiazzi, A Pinchera, S Pitz, M F Prummel, and W M Wiersinga
Group-author : The European Group of Graves’ Orbitopathy
Objective: To determine management patterns among clinicians who treat patients with Graves’ orbitopathy (GO) in Europe.
Design and methods: Questionnaire survey including a case scenario of members of professional organisations representing endocrinologists, ophthalmologists and nuclear medicine physicians.
Results: A multidisciplinary approach to manage GO was valued by 96.3% of responders, although 31.5% did not participate or refer to a multidisciplinary team and 21.5% of patients with GO treated by responders were not managed in a multidisciplinary setting. Access to surgery for sight-threatening GO was available only within weeks or months according to 59.5% of responders. Reluctance to refer urgently to an ophthalmologist was noted by 32.7% of responders despite the presence of suspected optic neuropathy. The use of steroids was not influenced by the age of the patient, but fewer responders chose to use steroids in a diabetic patient (72.1 vs 90.5%, P < 0.001). Development of cushingoid features resulted in a reduction in steroid use (90.5 vs 36.5%, P < 0.001) and increase in the use of orbital irradiation (from 23.8% to 40.4%, P < 0.05) and surgical decompression (from 20.9 to 52.9%, P < 0.001). More ophthalmologists chose surgical decompression for patients with threatened vision due to optic neuropathy, who were intolerant to steroids than other specialists (70.3 vs 41.8%, P < 0.01).
Conclusion: Deficiencies in the management of patients with GO in Europe were identified by this survey. Further training of clinicians, easier access of patients to specialist multidisciplinary centres and the publication of practice guidelines may help improve the management of this condition in Europe.
L Bartalena, G J Kahaly, L Baldeschi, C M Dayan, A Eckstein, C Marcocci, M Marinò, B Vaidya, W M Wiersinga, and EUGOGO
Graves’ orbitopathy (GO) is the main extrathyroidal manifestation of Graves’ disease (GD). Choice of treatment should be based on the assessment of clinical activity and severity of GO. Early referral to specialized centers is fundamental for most patients with GO. Risk factors include smoking, thyroid dysfunction, high serum level of thyrotropin receptor antibodies, radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment, and hypercholesterolemia. In mild and active GO, control of risk factors, local treatments, and selenium (selenium-deficient areas) are usually sufficient; if RAI treatment is selected to manage GD, low-dose oral prednisone prophylaxis is needed, especially if risk factors coexist. For both active moderate-to-severe and sight-threatening GO, antithyroid drugs are preferred when managing Graves’ hyperthyroidism. In moderate-to-severe and active GO i.v. glucocorticoids are more effective and better tolerated than oral glucocorticoids. Based on current evidence and efficacy/safety profile, costs and reimbursement, drug availability, long-term effectiveness, and patient choice after extensive counseling, a combination of i.v. methylprednisolone and mycophenolate sodium is recommended as first-line treatment. A cumulative dose of 4.5 g of i.v. methylprednisolone in 12 weekly infusions is the optimal regimen. Alternatively, higher cumulative doses not exceeding 8 g can be used as monotherapy in most severe cases and constant/inconstant diplopia. Second-line treatments for moderate-to-severe and active GO include (a) the second course of i.v. methylprednisolone (7.5 g) subsequent to careful ophthalmic and biochemical evaluation, (b) oral prednisone/prednisolone combined with either cyclosporine or azathioprine; (c) orbital radiotherapy combined with oral or i.v. glucocorticoids, (d) teprotumumab; (e) rituximab and (f) tocilizumab. Sight-threatening GO is treated with several high single doses of i.v. methylprednisolone per week and, if unresponsive, with urgent orbital decompression. Rehabilitative surgery (orbital decompression, squint, and eyelid surgery) is indicated for inactive residual GO manifestations.