Background: Graves’s disease (GD) is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Maximal 30% of pediatric GD patients achieve remission with antithyroid drugs. The majority of patients therefore require definitive treatment. Both thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine (RAI) are often used as definitive treatment for GD. However, data on efficacy and short- and long-term side effects of RAI treatment for pediatric GD are relatively scarce. Methods: A systematic review of the literature (PubMed and Embase) was performed to identify studies reporting the efficacy or short- and long-term side effects of RAI treatment in pediatric GD. Results: Twenty-three studies evaluating 1,283 children and adolescents treated with RAI for GD were included. The treatment goal of RAI treatment changed over time, from trying to achieve euthyroidism in the past to aiming at complete thyroid destruction and subsequent hypothyroidism in the last 3 decades. The reported efficacy of a first RAI treatment when aiming at hypothyroidism ranged from 42.8 to 97.5%, depending on the activity administered. The efficacy seems to increase with higher RAI activities. When aiming at hypothyroidism, both short- and long-term side effects of treatment are very rare. Long-term side effects were mainly seen in patients in whom treatment aimed at achieving euthyroidism. Conclusion: RAI is a safe definitive treatment option for pediatric GD when aiming at complete thyroid destruction. When aiming at hypothyroidism, the efficacy of treatment seems to increase with a higher RAI activity. Prospective studies are needed to determine the optimal RAI dosing regimen in pediatric GD.
Sarah L. Lutterman, Nitash Zwaveling-Soonawala, Hein J. Verberne, Frederik A. Verburg, A.S. Paul van Trotsenburg, and Christiaan F. Mooij
Christiaan F Mooij, Timothy D Cheetham, Frederik A Verburg, Anja Eckstein, Simon H Pearce, Juliane Léger, and A S Paul van Trotsenburg
Hyperthyroidism caused by Graves’ disease (GD) is a relatively rare disease in children. Treatment options are the same as in adults – antithyroid drugs (ATD), radioactive iodine (RAI) or thyroid surgery, but the risks and benefits of each modality are different. The European Thyroid Association guideline provides new recommendations for the management of pediatric GD with and without orbitopathy. Clinicians should be alert that GD may present with behavioral changes or declining academic performance in children. Measurement of serum TSH receptor antibodies is recommended for all pediatric patients with hyperthyroidism. Management recommendations include the first-line use of a prolonged course of methimazole/carbimazole ATD treatment (3 years or more), a preference for dose titration instead of block and replace ATD, and to avoid propylthiouracil use. Where definitive treatment is required either total thyroidectomy or RAI is recommended, aiming for complete thyroid ablation with a personalized RAI activity. We recommend avoiding RAI in children under 10 years of age but favor surgery in patients with large goiter. Pediatric endocrinologists should be involved in all cases.