Endocrinol Metab.  2015 Dec;30(4):620-625. 10.3803/EnM.2015.30.4.620.

Refractory Graves' Disease Successfully Cured by Adjunctive Cholestyramine and Subsequent Total Thyroidectomy

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. ldj6026@catholic.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

The three major forms of treatment for Graves thyrotoxicosis are antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine therapy and thyroidectomy. Surgery is the definitive treatment for Graves thyrotoxicosis that is generally recommended when other treatments have failed or are contraindicated. Generally, thyrotoxic patients should be euthyroid before surgery to minimize potential complications which usually requires preoperative management with thionamides or inorganic iodine. But several cases of refractory Graves' disease have shown resistance to conventional treatment. Here we report a 40-year-old female patient with Graves' disease who complained of thyrotoxic symptoms for 7 months. Her thyroid function test and thyroid autoantibody profiles were consistent with Graves' disease. One kind of thionamides and beta-blocker were started to control her disease. However, she was resistant to nearly all conventional medical therapies, including beta-blockers, inorganic iodine, and two thionamides. She experienced hepatotoxicity from the thionamides. What was worse is her past history of serious allergic reaction to corticosteroids, which are often used to help control symptoms. A 2-week regimen of high-dose cholestyramine improved her uncontrolled thyrotoxicosis and subsequent thyroidectomy was successfully performed. In conclusion, cholestyramine could be administered as an effective and safe adjunctive agent for preoperative preparation in patients with severe hyperthyroid Graves's disease that is resistant to conventional therapies.

Keyword

Graves disease; Drug resistance; Cholestyramine resin
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