Der Internist


PMID 23389325


Thyrotoxicosis is mainly caused by autonomous adenomas of the thyroid gland and by Graves' disease. A less frequent cause for thyrotoxicosis is Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Thyrotoxicosis in autonomous adenomas and Graves' disease is caused by an increased thyroid hormone production whereas hyperthyroidism in Hashimoto's thyroiditis results from destruction of the thyroid gland. Drug therapy depends on the cause of the disease. Autonomous adenomas and Graves' disease are treated with methimazole and potentially with β-blockers. Regarding thyroid ablative therapy, radioiodine is mostly preferred compared to thyroidectomy. Drug therapy of Hashimoto's thyroiditis is purely symptomatic using β-blockers and rarely corticosteroids. Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy is a major issue and pregnant women in the first trimester are treated with propylthiouracil (PTU) whereas women in the second and third trimesters are treated with methimazole. The aim is to maintain the serum fT4 levels within the upper normal range.