Iodide-sensitive Graves’ hyperthyroidism and the strategy for resistant or escaped patients during potassium iodide treatment

Ken Okamura, Kaori Sato, Megumi Fujikawa, Sachiko Bandai, Hiroshi Ikenoue, Takanari Kitazono

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The effectiveness of potassium iodide (KI) (100 mg/day) was evaluated in 504 untreated patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism (GD). Initial response to KI within 180 days, the effect of additional methylmercaptoimidazole (MMI) or radioactive iodine (RI) in resistant or escaped patients, and long-term prognosis were evaluated. Serum fT4 levels became low or normal in 422 patients (83.7%, KI-sensitive group) without serious side effects. Among these patients, serum TSH levels became high (n = 92, hypothyroid) or normal (n = 78) in 170 patients (33.7%) (KI-sensitive with a recovered TSH response, Group A), but remained suppressed in 252 patients (50.0%) (KI-sensitive with TSH suppression, Group B). Serum fT4 levels decreased but remained high in 82 patients (16.3%) (KI-resistant, Group C). Older patients, or those with small goiter and mild GD were more KI-sensitive with a recovered TSH response than others. Escape from KI effect occurred in 0%, 36% and 82% in Group A, B and C, respectively. Patients in Group B and C were successfully treated with additional low-dosage MMI or RI. After 2–23 years’ treatment (n = 429), remission (including possible remission) and spontaneous hypothyroidism were significantly more frequent in Group A (74.3% and 11.1%, respectively,) than in Groups B (46.3% and 2.8%, respectively) or C (53.6% and 1.5%, respectively) (p < 0.0001). In conclusion, a high KI sensitivity with a recovered TSH response was observed in about a third of the patients in GD associated with a better prognosis. Additional MMI or RI therapy was effective in escaped or KI-resistant patients with suppressed TSH level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-997
Number of pages15
JournalEndocrine Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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