Riedel Thyroiditis Medication

Updated: Jul 22, 2022
  • Author: Chris K Guerin, MD, FACE; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

As previously stated, corticosteroid therapy is the medical treatment of choice for patients with Riedel thyroiditis (RT). [22] These drugs have been found in most studies to reduce goiter size and relieve local compressive symptoms, although apparently not all patients benefit from treatment.

Tamoxifen can be used as a first-line therapy in patients with RT, or it can be employed as an alternative treatment if corticosteroid treatment fails. Levothyroxine is used to correct RT-associated hypothyroidism. [21]



Class Summary

Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory properties and cause profound and varied metabolic effects. These agents modify the body's immune response to diverse stimuli.


Prednisone is an immunosuppressant for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. It may decrease inflammation by reversing increased capillary permeability and suppressing polymorphonuclear leukocyte activity. The drug stabilizes lysosomal membranes and suppresses lymphocytes and antibody production.

Prednisolone (Pediapred, Prelone, Orapred)

Prednisolone may decrease inflammation by reversing increased capillary permeability and suppressing polymorphonuclear (PMN) leukocyte activity. It is a commonly used oral agent.


Antineoplastic Agents

Class Summary

Tamoxifen is used to treat progressive Riedel thyroiditis (RT) that is not responsive to corticosteroids or surgical decompression, or is administered to patients with contraindications to corticosteroid therapy. It provides symptomatic improvement, as well as size reduction of the involved tissue as measured on CT scans.

Mycophenolate is an immunosuppressive therapy often used to prevent rejection after transplantation and/or in graft versus host disease. It has been used in disorders characterized by systemic fibrosis. In one study, significant improvement was noted after 90 days when used in combination with prednisone. [28]


The proposed mechanism of action for tamoxifen is not antiestrogen activity but rather the induction of transforming growth factor beta (a potent inhibitor of fibroblast proliferation).

Mycophenolate (Cell-Cept)

The proposed mechanism of action is inhibition of both T- and B- cell lymphoctye proliferation. It may also directly inhibit fibrosis, at least in animal models. [25]


Thyroid Hormones

Class Summary

Thyroid hormones are used to correct hypothyroidism associated with Riedel thyroiditis (RT).

Levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid, Thyquidity)

Levothyroxine rapidly inhibits the release of thyroid hormones via a direct effect on the thyroid gland; it also inhibits the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Iodide also appears to attenuate cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) ̶ mediated effects of TSH. In active form, levothyroxine influences the growth and maturation of tissues. It is involved in normal growth, metabolism, and development.