Duration of Graves' Disease Remission Following Anti-thyroid Drug Therapy

New Study Explores Remission Predictors

Doctor holding a tablet and a prescription medicine bottlePatients with Graves’ disease are prescribed anti-thyroid drugs as a first-line therapy.  This continues to be the case, despite a high relapse rate after treatment.

Researchers from Greece published a study on remission predictors for Graves’ disease patients treated with anti-thyroid drugs.  This was a retrospective study done at an endocrine referral service in northern Greece.  Their study was published online ahead of print on February 11, 2013; it will be published in the journal Endocrine.

The study is:  “Predictors of long-term remission in patients with Graves’ disease:  a single center experience.”

Graves’ Disease Study Details
There were 211 patients involved in the study that met inclusion criteria.

The following groups experienced longer remission of Graves’ disease following anti-thyroid drug treatment:

  • Women (p = 0.049)
  • Non-smokers (p = 0.017)
  • Graves’ disease patients without ophthalmopathy (p = 0.033)
  • Patients who developed pharmaceutical-induced hypothyroidism (p = 0.018)

The duration of remission was positively associated with:

  • Duration of anti-thyroid drug treatment (r (s) = 0.151, p = 0.030)
  • Maximum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)  levels during treatment (r (s) = 0.341, p = 0.003)
  • TSH levels at the end of treatment (r (s) = 0.280, p < 0.001)
  • TSH levels 3 months after the end of treatment (r (s) = 0.341, p = 0.003)

A negative association was seen with free T4 (r (s) = =0.426, p < 0.001) and free T3 (r (s) = -0.467, p = 0.038) levels 6 months following the end of treatment.

Multiple regression analysis showed one predictor of remission duration: length of the first anti-thyroid drug course.  Treatment for more than 24 months independently predicted duration of remission.

What This Study Means for Your Practice
This study may inform the treatment duration for your Graves’ disease patients on anti-thyroid drugs.  It may also help you understand which patients are more or less likely to experience Graves’ disease relapse.

Continue Reading:
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