The 2021 European Group on Graves' orbitopathy (EUGOGO) clinical practice guidelines for the medical management of Graves' orbitopathy

Eur J Endocrinol. 2021 Aug 27;185(4):G43-G67. doi: 10.1530/EJE-21-0479.


Graves' orbitopathy (GO) is the main extrathyroidal manifestation of Graves' disease (GD). Choice of treatment should be based on the assessment of clinical activity and severity of GO. Early referral to specialized centers is fundamental for most patients with GO. Risk factors include smoking, thyroid dysfunction, high serum level of thyrotropin receptor antibodies, radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment, and hypercholesterolemia. In mild and active GO, control of risk factors, local treatments, and selenium (selenium-deficient areas) are usually sufficient; if RAI treatment is selected to manage GD, low-dose oral prednisone prophylaxis is needed, especially if risk factors coexist. For both active moderate-to-severe and sight-threatening GO, antithyroid drugs are preferred when managing Graves' hyperthyroidism. In moderate-to-severe and active GO i.v. glucocorticoids are more effective and better tolerated than oral glucocorticoids. Based on current evidence and efficacy/safety profile, costs and reimbursement, drug availability, long-term effectiveness, and patient choice after extensive counseling, a combination of i.v. methylprednisolone and mycophenolate sodium is recommended as first-line treatment. A cumulative dose of 4.5 g of i.v. methylprednisolone in 12 weekly infusions is the optimal regimen. Alternatively, higher cumulative doses not exceeding 8 g can be used as monotherapy in most severe cases and constant/inconstant diplopia. Second-line treatments for moderate-to-severe and active GO include (a) the second course of i.v. methylprednisolone (7.5 g) subsequent to careful ophthalmic and biochemical evaluation, (b) oral prednisone/prednisolone combined with either cyclosporine or azathioprine; (c) orbital radiotherapy combined with oral or i.v. glucocorticoids, (d) teprotumumab; (e) rituximab and (f) tocilizumab. Sight-threatening GO is treated with several high single doses of i.v. methylprednisolone per week and, if unresponsive, with urgent orbital decompression. Rehabilitative surgery (orbital decompression, squint, and eyelid surgery) is indicated for inactive residual GO manifestations.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Antithyroid Agents / classification
  • Antithyroid Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Endocrine / standards
  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Endocrinology / organization & administration
  • Endocrinology / standards*
  • Europe
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / classification
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / complications
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / pathology
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / therapy*
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Prognosis
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration
  • Referral and Consultation / standards
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Societies, Medical / standards
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / pathology
  • Vision Disorders / therapy


  • Antithyroid Agents