Antithyroid medicine is often used for
hyperthyroidism, because it works more quickly than
radioactive iodine therapy. Radioactive iodine therapy destroys part or all of the thyroid gland, depending on the dosage used. But antithyroid
medicine does not cause permanent thyroid damage.
may take antithyroid medicine before you have radioactive iodine treatment or
surgery—to bring your
metabolism to normal, to make you feel better, or to
reduce the chances of more serious problems.
does control hyperthyroidism in many people. But the medicine does have some
- You have to take the medicine for at least 1
- Your symptoms may come back after you stop taking it. And then you
have to start taking antithyroid medicine again or try a different
- There are some rare side effects from the medicine,
ranging from a rash to a low white blood cell count, which can make it hard for
your body to fight infection.
Your doctor may prescribe additional medicines
to treat symptoms caused by hyperthyroidism, such as rapid heartbeat or dry
eyes. These medicines can help you feel better while you wait for another
treatment to begin to work.
What to think about
- Antithyroid medicine may or may not make your
hyperthyroidism permanently go away. The medicine is much more effective in people with mild disease. Up to 30 out of 100 people in the United States will have their hyperthyroidism go away (go into
remission) after taking antithyroid medicine for 12 to 18 months.3
- Antithyroid medicine works
best if you have mild hyperthyroidism, if this is the first time you are being
Graves' disease, if you are younger than 50, or if
thyroid gland is only swollen a little bit (small
goiter). It is not used for
- Antithyroid medicine is used
instead of radioactive iodine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to
- Children are treated with antithyroid medicine, because experts
do not know if radioactive iodine treatment is safe for children. Treating
children with antithyroid medicine is challenging. It is hard to know
how much medicine they need when they are growing so quickly.
doctor may prescribe low doses of thyroid hormone medicine to take with your
antithyroid medicine so that your thyroid hormone levels do not get too
- Hyperthyroidism: Should I Use Antithyroid Medicine or Radioactive Iodine?