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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 155;

Corticosteroids in Moderate-To-Severe Graves’ Ophthalmopathy: Oral or Intravenous Therapy?

Paediatric Clinic, Department of Surgical and Biomedical Sciences, Università degli Studi di Perugia, 06129 Perugia, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 November 2018 / Revised: 30 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Adolescents and Children Health Research)
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Background: Ophthalmopathy is a rare extra-thyroid manifestation of Graves’ disease, in paediatrics. Intravenous corticosteroids are the main treatment of moderate-to-severe Graves’ orbitopathy. In this paper, we describe a moderate-to-severe active Graves’ ophthalmopathy in a child and the response to oral therapy with prednisone. Case presentation: A nine-year-old male child suffering for a few months, from palpitations, tremors, and paresthesia was hospitalized in our Pediatric Clinic. At admission, the thyroid function laboratory tests showed hyperthyroidism with elevated free thyroxine (FT4) and free triiodothyronine (FT3) levels and suppressed thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. These findings, combined with the clinical conditions—an ophthalmologic evaluation (that showed the presence of exophthalmos without lagophthalmos and visual acuity deficiency), thyroid ultrasound, and TSH receptor antibody positivity—led to a diagnosis of Graves’ disease. Therefore, methimazole was administered at a dose of 0.4 mg/kg/day. After 4 months, thyroid function was clearly improved, with normal FT3 and FT4 values and increasing TSH values, without adverse effects. Nevertheless, an eye examination showed ophthalmopathy with signs of activity, an increase in the exophthalmos of the right eye with palpebral retraction, soft tissue involvement (succulent and oedematous eyelids, caruncle and conjunctival hyperaemia and oedema) and keratopathy, resulting from exposure. We began steroid therapy with oral administration of prednisone (1 mg/kg/day) for four weeks, followed by gradual tapering. After one week of therapy with prednisone, an eye assessment showed reduced retraction of the upper eyelid of the right eye, improvement of right eye exophthalmometry and reduction of conjunctival hyperaemia. After four weeks of therapy with prednisone, an eye assessment showed reduction of the right palpebral retraction without conjunctival hyperaemia and no other signs of inflammation of the anterior segment; after twelve weeks, an eye assessment showed a notable decrease in the right palpebral retraction and the absence of keratitis, despite persisting moderate conjunctival hyperaemia. No adverse event associated with steroid use was observed during the treatment period and no problem in compliance was reported. Conclusion: Prednisone seems a better choice than intravenous corticosteroids, for treating moderate-to-severe and active Graves’ ophthalmopathy, keeping in mind the importance of quality of life in pediatric patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: corticosteroids; Graves’ orbitopathy; hyperthyroidism; ophthalmopathy; prednisone corticosteroids; Graves’ orbitopathy; hyperthyroidism; ophthalmopathy; prednisone
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Penta, L.; Muzi, G.; Cofini, M.; Leonardi, A.; Lanciotti, L.; Esposito, S. Corticosteroids in Moderate-To-Severe Graves’ Ophthalmopathy: Oral or Intravenous Therapy? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 155.

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