The iodine perchlorate discharge test before and after one year of methimazole treatment of hyperthyroid graves' disease

E. Roti, R. Minelli, E. Gardini, L. Bianconi, M. Salvi, G. Gavaruzzi, G. Ugolotti, L. E. Braverman

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We have recently reported that many euthyroid patients with a history of Graves' disease treated years earlier with methimazole (MMI) have a positive iodide (500 μg)-perchlorate discharge test (I-ClO4 test), suggesting a permanent thyroid iodide organification defect. We now report the results of the I-ClO4 test in patients with hyperthyroid Graves' disease before beginning a 1-yr course of MMI therapy and 40 days after MMI was discontinued. Twenty-nine patients (25 women and 4 men; mean age, 38 ± 1.7 yr) with their first episode of hyperthyroid Graves' disease were studied. Before MMI therapy, I-ClO4 tests were carried out, and serum T4, T3, and TSH were measured to confirm the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. A positive I- ClO4 test is defined as more than 15% 131I discharged from the thyroid 1 h after the administration of 1 g KClO4. Patients were then treated with 20 mg MMI for the first 2 months and variable doses thereafter for the next 10 months to maintain euthyroidism. Serum T4, T3, and TSH were measured monthly. Forty days after MMI was discontinued, I-ClO4 tests were repeated, and serum T4, T3, and TSH were measured every 2 months thereafter. Before MMI treatment, the I-ClO4 test was positive in 20 of 29 patients (69%) and negative in 9. The favorable responses (normal serum T4 and T3 values) to MMI therapy were similar in both groups. We have thus far studied 16 patients after MMI was discontinued and 9 of 12 patients (75%) with a negative I- ClO4 test after MMI therapy, and 1 of 4 patients (25%) with a positive test remained in remission for a mean of 7 months. We conclude that the I-ClO4 test is frequently positive in patients with untreated hyperthyroid Graves' disease, suggesting either an inability to organify the increased iodide concentrated by the hyperfunctioning gland or the concomitant presence of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which almost always is associated with a positive I- ClO4 test. The former hypothesis is more likely, because many patients with a positive I-ClO4 test before MMI therapy had a negative test after MMI was discontinued.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-799
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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