There are scarce reports regarding the prognosis of a second course of antithyroid drug (ATD) therapy on recurrent Graves' disease (GD). The aim of this study was to assess the long-term remission rate after a second ATD therapy and verify significant clinical predictors of a remission.
A prospective randomized clinical trial with long-term follow-up was conducted to evaluate the effects of a second course of ATD therapy.
A total of 128 recurrent GD patients who had finished a first regular ATD therapy were enrolled in this study, and prescribed methimazole (MMI) treatment with titration regimen. The patients were randomly assigned to two groups when the drug doses were reduced to 2.5 mg daily (qd). Group 1 was discontinued with 2.5 mg qd after about 5 months. Group 2 was continuously reduced to 2.5 mg every other day (qod) after 5 months and then discontinued with 2.5 mg qod after about a further 5 months. The patients were followed for 48 months after drug withdrawal.
Of the total number of patients, 97 cases (75.78%) achieved permanent remission at the end of follow-up, with the recurrence of 31 cases (24.22%). The remission rate of group 2 (84.62%) was significantly higher than that of group 1 (66.67%) ( P=0.024). Cox regression showed that the hazard ratio for recurrence decreased under a high or high normal TSH level at drug withdrawal.