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Claudio Marcocci, Torquil Watt, Maria Antonietta Altea, Ase Krogh Rasmussen, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, Jacques Orgiazzi, Luigi Bartalena, and for the European Group of Graves' Orbitopathy (EUGOGO)

Objective

The objective of this study was to investigate the side effects of glucocorticoid (GC) therapy observed by European thyroidologists during the treatment of Graves' orbitopathy (GO).

Design

A questionnaire-based survey among members of the European Thyroid Association (ETA) who treat GO.

Results

A response was obtained from 128 ETA members of which 115 used GC therapy for GO. The majority of respondents (83/115, 72%) used intravenous (i.v.) GC, with a relatively wide variety of therapeutic regimens. The cumulative dose of methylprednisolone ranged between 0.5 and 12 g (median 4.5 g) for i.v.GC and between 1.0 and 4.9 g (median 2.4 g) for oral GC. Adverse events were often reported during oral GCs (26/32, 81%); most side effects were non-severe, but ten respondents reported severe adverse events (hepatic, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular complications), including two fatal cases, both receiving a total of 2.3 g prednisone. Adverse events were less common in i.v.GC (32/83 respondents, 39%), but mostly consisted of severe events, including seven fatal cases. All but one fatal event occurred in cumulative i.v.GC doses (>8 g) higher than those currently recommended.

Conclusions

GCs are preferentially administered i.v. for the treatment of GO in Europe. Both oral and i.v.GC may be associated with severe adverse effects, including fatal cases, which are more frequently reported in daily or alternate day i.v.GC. IvGC therapy should be undertaken in centers with appropriate expertise. Patients should be carefully examined for risk factors before treatment and monitored for side effects, which may be asymptomatic, both during and after treatment.

Free access

Wilmar Wiersinga, Miloš Žarković, Luigi Bartalena, Simone Donati, Petros Perros, Onyebuchi Okosieme, Daniel Morris, Nicole Fichter, Jurg Lareida, Georg von Arx, Chantal Daumerie, Maria-Christina Burlacu, George Kahaly, Susanne Pitz, Biljana Beleslin, Jasmina Ćirić, Goksun Ayvaz, Onur Konuk, Füsun Balos̜ Törüner, Mario Salvi, Danila Covelli, Nicola Curro, Laszlo Hegedüs, Thomas Brix, and EUGOGO (European Group on Graves’ Orbitopathy)

Objective

To construct a predictive score for the development or progression of Graves’ orbitopathy (GO) in Graves’ hyperthyroidism (GH).

Design

Prospective observational study in patients with newly diagnosed GH, treated with antithyroid drugs (ATD) for 18 months at ten participating centers from EUGOGO in 8 European countries.

Methods

348 patients were included with untreated GH but without obvious GO. Mixed effects logistic regression was used to determine the best predictors. A predictive score (called PREDIGO) was constructed.

Results

GO occurred in 15% (mild in 13% and moderate to severe in 2%), predominantly at 6–12 months after start of ATD. Independent baseline determinants for the development of GO were clinical activity score (assigned 5 points if score > 0), TSH-binding inhibitory immunoglobulins (2 points if TBII 2–10 U/L, 5 points if TBII > 10 U/L), duration of hyperthyroid symptoms (1 point if 1–4 months, 3 points if >4 months) and smoking (2 points if current smoker). Based on the odds ratio of each of these four determinants, a quantitative predictive score (called PREDIGO) was constructed ranging from 0 to 15 with higher scores denoting higher risk; positive and negative predictive values were 0.28 (95% CI 0.20–0.37) and 0.91 (95% CI 0.87–0.94) respectively.

Conclusions

In patients without GO at diagnosis, 15% will develop GO (13% mild, 2% moderate to severe) during subsequent treatment with ATD for 18 months. A predictive score called PREDIGO composed of four baseline determinants was better in predicting those patients who will not develop obvious GO than who will.

Free access

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)

Free access

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.