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Comparison of long-term antithyroid drugs versus radioactive iodine or surgery for Graves' disease: A review of the literature

Omar M El Kawkgi, Douglas S Ross, Marius N Stan
Clinical Endocrinology 2021, 95 (1): 3-12

BACKGROUND: The management of Graves' disease (GD) in the US is shifting towards increased use of anti-thyroid drugs (ATD). If patients fail to achieve remission after a standard course of therapy of 12-18 months, long-term treatment with ATD (≥24 months) may be chosen over definitive therapy with radioiodine (RAI) or surgery. Clinicians will need to contrast this strategy to ablative therapies as they help patients in decision making.

SUMMARY: Review of the literature illustrates that long-term ATD delivers euthyroidism with minimal complications, low financial cost and with an advantageous profile regarding quality of life (QoL) and other biological outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Long-term ATD is a viable alternative to ablative therapies in the management of GD offering advantages across multiple patient centred outcomes. Decision making must factor differences in this approach compared to ablative therapies and ultimately be tailored to individualized patient situations.

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