High-dose intravenous corticosteroid therapy for Graves' ophthalmopathy

P. E. Macchia, M. Bagattini, G. Lupoli, M. Vitale, G. Vitale, G. Fenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to compare oral and high-dose iv corticosteroid therapy for Graves' disease, 25 patients with Graves' ophthalmopathy were treated with two weekly iv injections of 1g of methylprednisolone diluted in 250-500 ml of physiological solution for 6 weeks, and were compared to a group of 26 patients treated with oral prednisone at a dose of 60-80 mg/day progressively reduced every 2 weeks for a total duration of 4-6 months. The efficacy of treatment was evaluated using the ophthalmopathy index score. Patients were followed at 3, 6, 12 months, and afterwards yearly. All patients showed a significant improvement in signs and symptoms of orbital inflammation and a slight improvement in proptosis and diplopia. Relevant side-effects were reported from patients receiving oral therapy, but no significant side-effects were observed in patients treated with high iv doses; a few cases presented with gastric pain (highly sensitive to aluminium oxide or ranitidine), while most of the patients referred to cutaneous rashes and a metal taste that disappeared some hours after the infusion. Improvements observed after treatment have been stable in both groups. In conclusion, in addition to a lower incidence of side-effects compared to the classic oral therapy, the high-dose iv steroid therapy provides efficient and stable improvement in Graves' ophthalmopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Adverse effects
  • Autoimmune response/disease
  • Corticosteroids
  • Graves' disease
  • Intravenous administration and dosage
  • Thyroid gland/hyperthyroidism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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