(HealthDay News) — Both thyroidectomy and statin use are associated with lower risk of developing thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO) in individuals with Graves disease (GD), according to research published online December 11 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Joshua D. Stein, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal cohort study of 8,404 patients, aged ≥18 years, with newly diagnosed GD. The authors examined risk factors associated with the development of TAO among patients with newly diagnosed GD.

The researchers found that 8.8% of patients with newly diagnosed GD developed TAO. After adjustment for potential confounders, surgical thyroidectomy, alone or combined with medical therapy, was found to be associated with reduced risk for TAO (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12–0.51) compared with radioactive iodine therapy alone. Use of statins for ≥60 days in the previous year, compared with <60 days of use or nonuse, was associated with reduced risk of TAO (aHR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.37–0.93). Use of nonstatin cholesterol-lowering medications or cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors did not appear to affect development of TAO.

“A prospective study is needed to substantiate these findings and to assess whether statin use or a thyroidectomy may delay or prevent TAO in patients with GD,” the authors write.

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