Which medications in the drug class Glucocorticoids are used in the treatment of Graves Disease?

Updated: Apr 17, 2020
  • Author: Sai-Ching Jim Yeung, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Graves disease is an autoimmune disease. Although glucocorticoids have been shown to decrease T4-to-T3 conversion and decrease thyroid hormones by yet undiscovered mechanisms, the adverse effect profile of long-term glucocorticoid therapy makes it unattractive for long-term management of Graves hyperthyroidism. However, glucocorticoids may have a role in rapidly lowering thyroid hormone levels in the clinical setting of thyroid storm. With regard to Graves ophthalmopathy, current evidence indicates that glucocorticoids represent the only class of drug therapy that, either alone or combined with other therapies, has an unequivocal role in management.

Prednisone (Sterapred)

Has been customarily used in management of Graves ophthalmopathy. Other oral glucocorticoids at equipotent doses may also be effective.

Methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol)

Has been customarily used for high-dose pulse steroid therapy in management of Graves ophthalmopathy. Other glucocorticoids at equipotent doses may also be effective. Intravenous high dose glucocorticoid therapy may be more effective and better tolerated than oral steroid therapy in the management of Graves ophthalmopathy (Aktaran, 2007).

Dexamethasone (Decadron)

In healthy persons, induces decrease in serum T3 levels without a change in serum T4 levels, suggesting an effect of dexamethasone on peripheral T3-to-T4 conversion.

In patients with Graves hyperthyroidism, induces rapid fall in serum thyroid hormone levels. Changes are too rapid to be explained by a steroid-induced fall in the level of a circulating IgG thyroid stimulator (TSI). Mechanism for this observation is unclear.

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