The efficacy of long term thyrostatic treatment in elderly patients with toxic nodular goitre compared to radioiodine therapy with different doses

K. I. Takáts, I. Szabolcs, J. Földes, I. Földes, A. Ferencz, E. Rimanóczy, M. Góth, O. Dohán, L. Kovács, G. Szilágyi

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The objective of the study was to investigate the efficacy of long term thyrostatic versus radioiodine treatment of hyperthyroidism in old age. Our study is a retrospective analysis of the therapeutical outcome in 66 patients over 60 years of age with toxic nodular goitre. The patients were divided in two groups: Group A: 28 patients on methimazole treatment: starting dose 5-30, median (M) 10 mg, maintenance dose 2.5-15 (M = 5) mg, follow up 6 to 240 months (M = 23.5 months). Group B: 38 patients treated by either 100-300 MBq (N = 14, subgroup B1) or 325-1000 MBq (N = 24, subgroup B2) 131I, follow up: 18 to 156 months (M = 48 months). The efficacy of the different therapeutical approaches were compared by calculating the occurrence rate of persisting and relapsing thyroid dysfunctions and associated side effects. The 28 patients on methimazole treatment became euthyroid after 1-16 (M = 5) months but numerous relapses occurred in the follow up: hyperthyroidism, clinical: 5, subclinical 13, (relapse duration: M = 8 months. associated symptoms: hypertension in 4, cardiac arrhythmia in 3, cerebral embolism in 1, angina pectoris in 2, weight loss in 2 cases). Poor patient's compliance (9/28) or dose reduction by the physician (5/28) were the main causes of the relapses. Transient clinical (3 cases) or subclinical (6 cases) hypothyroidism also occurred (duration: 1-3 M = 2 months, no clinical symptoms). In 7 out of 14 (50%) patients receiving 100-300 MBq 131I (Group B1) hyperthyroidism persisted (versus 4/24 - 16.7% - in Group B2 following 325-1000 MBq 131I; χ2((1)) = 4.78 P = 0.028), methimazole treatment had to be continued in 9/14 patients (64.3%) (versus 5/24 - 20.8% - in Group B2., χ2((1)) = 7.18 P = 0.0074) and in 5/14 (35.7%) the radiotherapy had to be repeated (versus 5/24 - 20.8% - in Group B2, not sign.). Our conclusions are: 1) long term thyrostatic treatment is not safe in elderly patients with toxic nodular hyperthyroidism, mainly because of poor compliance or dose reduction by the physician; 2) radioiodine treatment as the first choice should be recommended for these patients and higher doses should be preferred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Old age
  • Radioiodine treatment
  • Thyrostatic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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