Thyrotoxicosis - Lancet 2012 review

Thyrotoxicosis is a common disorder, especially in women. Thyroid disease affects 7 times more women than men.


There are 3 main causes of thyrotoxicosis: Graves' disease, toxic nodular hyperthyroidism, and thyroiditis.

Here are some more details about them:

- Graves' disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism) is the most frequent cause of thyrotoxicosis
- toxic nodular hyperthyroidism, due to the presence of one or more autonomously functioning thyroid nodules
- thyroiditis caused by inflammation, which results in release of stored hormones


The available treatments for thyrotoxicosis have been unchanged for 60 years.

Antithyroid drugs are the usual initial treatment. Thionamides such as carbimazole or its active metabolite methimazole are the drugs of choice.

A prolonged course leads to remission of Graves' hyperthyroidism in only 30% of cases.

Because of this low remission rate in Graves' disease (only 30%) and the inability to cure toxic nodular hyperthyroidism with antithyroid drugs alone, radioiodine is increasingly used as first line therapy. It is the preferred choice for relapsed Graves' hyperthyroidism.

Surgery with total thyroidectomy is an option in selected cases. .


Thyrotoxicosis. The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9821, Pages 1155 - 1166, 24 March 2012.

Thyroid disease—more research needed. The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9821, Page 1076, 24 March 2012.

Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Very informative! If I don't have much medical background and i just wanted to know what Thyrotoxicosis is, I'd prefer to read this than any other too wordy articles.