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Thionamide Therapy in Graves' Disease: Relation of Relapse Rate to Duration of Therapy

HAJIME TAMAI, M.D.; TETSUYA NAKAGAWA, M.D.; OSAMU FUKINO, M.D.; NORIYUKI OHSAKO, M.D.; RISHUN SHINZATO, M.D.; HIROYUKI SUEMATSU, M.D.; KANJI KUMA, M.D.; FUMIO MATSUZUKA, M.D.; and SHIGENOBU NAGATAKI, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Shigenobu Nagataki, M.D.; Third Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tokyo; Hongo, Tokyo 113, Japan.


Fukuoka, Kobe, and Tokyo, Japan


© 1980 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1980;92(4):488-490. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-92-4-488
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The present study was undertaken to investigate whether there is a rational basis for the usual long periods of thionamide therapy in patients with hyperthyroid Graves' disease. Eighty untreated patients were given the minimum dose of thionamide drug needed to maintain serum thyroxine, triiodothyronine, and thyrotropin (TSH) concentrations within their normal ranges. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) tests were done at 6 monthly intervals for 2 years. Among patients who had positive responses of TSH to TRH, approximately 10 patients every 6 months were asked to stop thionamide therapy and were followed up for at least 1 year after discontinuation of drugs. In the groups treated for 6, 12, 18, and 24 months, relapses occurred in nine of 13, five of nine, three of 12, and two of 11 patients, respectively. Values for thyroid function tests before and at the end of treatment were not different among these four groups of patients. The overall remission rates were not ascertained. However, a minimum of 1 year's treatment is recommended, at least in Japan.

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