(HealthDay)—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 Dec. 11 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

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

The researchers found that 8.8 percent 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 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.12 to 0.51) compared with radioactive iodine therapy alone. Use of statins for 60 days or more in the previous year, compared with less than 60 days of use or nonuse, was associated with of TAO (aHR, 0.60; 95 percent CI, 0.37 to 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 may delay or prevent TAO in patients with GD," the authors write.