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Is Tepezza used to treat Graves disease?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on June 1, 2022.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw) is a prescription medicine used to treat Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). TED often occurs in people living with Graves’ disease (too much thyroid hormone). TED and Graves’ disease are both autoimmune disorders, but are different conditions and are treated differently. With an autoimmune disorder, your immune system mistakenly attacks your own healthy tissues.

Other names for thyroid eye disease (TED) include:

  • Graves’ orbitopathy
  • Graves’ ophthalmopathy
  • Graves’ eye disease
  • Graves’ disease eyes
  • Thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy

TED

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) is a rare, serious and sight-threatening autoimmune disease. It is a progressive disease and can get worse over time. You can develop TED without having Graves’ disease. With TED, the muscle and fat behind the eye is attacked and becomes inflamed and red, leading to symptoms. Specialists recommend getting a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.

The symptoms of TED may include:

  • eye bulging
  • double vision
  • dry, gritty eyes
  • watery eyes
  • blurry vision
  • light sensitivity
  • eye pain or pressure
  • misaligned eyes
  • itchy eyes
  • swollen, puffy, red eyes or eyelids
  • eyelids are pulled back
  • color vision loss
  • blindness (rare)

Graves' disease

Graves’ disease is caused by overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). In Graves’ disease the thyroid is attacked and leads to an overproduction of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland sits at the base of your neck. Up to 50% of people diagnosed with Graves’ disease will develop TED.

Graves’ disease is often treated with antithyroid medicines like methimazole (Tapazole) or propylthiouracil, beta-blockers, radioactive iodine therapy or surgery. Endocrinologists are the specialists that usually manage Graves’ disease.

The symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • eye bulging
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • tremor in the hand or fingers
  • increased sweating
  • weight loss (despite normal eating)
  • enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
  • changes in a menstrual cycles
  • erectile dysfunction
  • decreased sex drive
  • frequent bowel movements
  • tiredness
  • trouble sleeping
  • thickened red skin, often on the feet or front of legs
  • irregular heartbeats. Not everyone who has Graves’ disease gets TED.

How well does Tepezza work?

Tepezza can help to reduce the eye bulging, double vision, and eye pain, redness and swelling that may occur with TED. Currently, Tepezza is the only FDA-approved treatment for TED.

  • In studies, Tepezza effectiveness was based on the OPTIC study which found a significant improvement in eye bulging (82.9%) compared to placebo (9.5%). Secondary endpoints were also met, including double-vision improvements.
  • It may cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, menstrual changes, fatigue, hearing impairment, dry skin, taste changes, muscle spasms and increased blood sugar levels. More serious side effects can include: infusion reactions, high blood sugar and worsening of inflammatory bowel disease.

Tepezza (teprotumumab) is the first medicine approved for the treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). Tepezza is given by your healthcare provider as an intravenous (IV) infusion into a vein once every three weeks for a total of eight infusions. Ophthalmologists are the specialists that typically treat TED.

Other treatments for TED include artificial tears, corticosteroids, prism glasses, or surgery.

Related: How does Tepezza work, what's the mechanism of action?

This is not all the information you need to know about Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

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