source: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
George J. Kahaly
Invited update on the management of systemic autoimmune Graves disease (GD) and associated Graves orbitopathy (GO).
Guidelines, pertinent original articles, systemic reviews, and meta-analyses.
Thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TSH-R-Abs), foremost the stimulatory TSH-R-Abs, are a specific biomarker for GD. Their measurement assists in the differential diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and offers accurate and rapid diagnosis of GD. Thyroid ultrasound is a sensitive imaging tool for GD. Worldwide, thionamides are the favored treatment (12-18 months) of newly diagnosed GD, with methimazole (MMI) as the preferred drug. Patients with persistently high TSH-R-Abs and/or persistent hyperthyroidism at 18 months, or with a relapse after completing a course of MMI, can opt for a definitive therapy with radioactive iodine (RAI) or total thyroidectomy (TX). Continued long-term, low-dose MMI administration is a valuable and safe alternative. Patient choice, both at initial presentation of GD and at recurrence, should be emphasized. Propylthiouracil is preferred to MMI during the first trimester of pregnancy. TX is best performed by a high-volume thyroid surgeon. RAI should be avoided in GD patients with active GO, especially in smokers. Recently, a promising therapy with an anti-insulin-like growth factor-1 monoclonal antibody for patients with active/severe GO was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. COVID-19 infection is a risk factor for poorly controlled hyperthyroidism, which contributes to the infection-related mortality risk. If GO is not severe, systemic steroid treatment should be postponed during COVID-19 while local treatment and preventive measures are offered.
A clear trend towards serological diagnosis and medical treatment of GD has emerged.
Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Medical Center, Germany