Few studies on hyperthyroidism treatment have been reported in the past 3 decades. We used a nationwide population-based database to evaluate the current practices and management of hyperthyroidism in Taiwan.
This retrospective study included a random selection of 1 million people in Taiwan between 2004 and 2010. We identified patients with hyperthyroidism who received antithyroid drugs (ATD), radioactive iodine (RAI), or surgery. We calculated the proportions and treatment trends of those 3 treatment options annually. A Poisson regression model was used to determine whether trends changed.
The prevalence of overt hyperthyroidism in Taiwan steadily increased from 2,666 (0.27%) in 2004 to 3,464 (0.37%) in 2010. The incidence of hyperthyroidism (per 1,000 persons) also increased from 0.97 in 2004 to 1.06 in 2010. The major proportion of hyperthyroidism in this study was Graves disease (95%), followed by toxic nodular goiter (2%), and other causes (3%). ATD is the most commonly used (96-97%) treatment for hyperthyroidism, followed by surgery (2-3%) and RAI (<1%). There was a significant decreasing trend for surgery, from 2.9% in 2004 to 2% in 2010, especially in female patients (3.3% in 2004 to 2.3% in 2010, P<.01) and patients younger than 40 (3.8% in 2004 to 2.9% in 2010, P<.01). Meanwhile, the proportions of ATD and RAI remained unchanged. The most common ATD prescription was methimazole (45-50%), followed by propylthiouracil (30-32%) and carbimazole (19-21%).
Between 2004 and 2010, ATD was the treatment of choice in Taiwan, followed by surgery and RAI.