There are three treatments for
hyperthyroidism. Antithyroid medicine and
radioactive iodine are the ones doctors use most often. In rare cases, surgery
may be done. Hyperthyroidism can lead to more serious problems. So even if your symptoms are not bothering you, you still need
The kind of treatment you have depends on your age, what is causing your
hyperthyroidism, how much thyroid hormone your body is making, and other
medical conditions you may have. Each kind of treatment has benefits and risks.
Discuss the benefits and risks of each kind of treatment
with your doctor. For some people, more than one kind of treatment may be
Initial treatment for
hyperthyroidism usually is antithyroid medicine or
radioactive iodine therapy. If you have a lot of symptoms, your doctor may
recommend you take antithyroid medicine first to help you feel better. Then
you can decide whether to have radioactive iodine therapy.
- Hyperthyroidism: Should I Use Antithyroid Medicine or Radioactive Iodine?
If you have symptoms such as a fast heartbeat, tremors,
sweating, nervousness, or dry eyes, you may take some
additional medicines to treat those symptoms.
Surgery is not usually part of initial treatment. You may need
surgery if your thyroid gland is so big that you have a hard time swallowing or
breathing. Or you may need surgery if a single large
thyroid nodule is releasing too much thyroid hormone.
During and after treatment for
hyperthyroidism, you will have regular blood tests to
check your levels of
thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). You will also have
thyroid hormone tests to check your levels of
hormones called T4 and T3. These tests are a good way to know how well your treatment
is working. If your symptoms do not go away after your initial treatment, you
may need to repeat the treatment or try a different treatment.
- If you have
Graves' disease and have been taking antithyroid
medicine but your hyperthyroidism has not improved, you can continue to take
antithyroid medicine or you can try
radioactive iodine therapy.
- If you have
lots of side effects from antithyroid medicines and radioactive iodine is not
an option for you, you may need surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid