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.
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- Author: Timothy D Cheetham x
Christiaan F Mooij, Timothy D Cheetham, Frederik A Verburg, Anja Eckstein, Simon H Pearce, Juliane Léger, and A S Paul van Trotsenburg
Claire L Wood, Niamh Morrison, Michael Cole, Malcolm Donaldson, David B Dunger, Ruth Wood, Simon H S Pearce, and Timothy D Cheetham
Patients with thyrotoxicosis are treated with anti-thyroid drug (ATD) using block and replace (BR) or a smaller, titrated dose of ATD (dose titration, DT).
A multi-centre, phase III, open-label trial of newly diagnosed paediatric thyrotoxicosis patients randomised to BR/DT. We compared the biochemical response to BR/DT in the first 6 months of therapy.
Patients commenced 0.75 mg/kg carbimazole (CBZ) daily with randomisation to BR/DT. We examined baseline patient characteristics, CBZ dose, time to serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)/free thyroxine (FT4) normalisation and BMI Z-score change.
There were 80 patients (baseline) and 78 patients (61 female) at 6 months. Mean CBZ dose was 0.9 mg/kg/day (BR) and 0.5 mg/kg/day (DT). There was no difference in time to non-suppressed TSH concentration; 16 of 39 patients (BR) and 11 of 39 (DT) had suppressed TSH at 6 months. Patients with suppressed TSH had higher mean baseline FT4 levels (72.7 vs 51.7 pmol/L; 95% CI for difference 1.73, 31.7; P = 0.029). Time to normalise FT4 levels was reduced in DT (log-rank test, P = 0.049) with 50% attaining normal FT4 at 28 days (95% CI 25, 32) vs 35 days in BR (95% CI 28, 58). Mean BMI Z-score increased from 0.10 to 0.81 at 6 months (95% CI for difference 0.57, 0.86; P < 0.001) and was greatest in patients with higher baseline FT4 concentrations.
DT-treated patients normalised FT4 concentrations more quickly than BR. Overall, 94% of patients have normal FT4 levels after 6 months, but 33% still have TSH suppression. Excessive weight gain occurs with both BR and DT therapy.