Hyperthyroidism - Treatment Overview
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 that you take antithyroid medicine first to help you feel better. Then
you can decide whether to have radioactive iodine therapy.
- Antithyroid medicines work best if
you have mild hyperthyroidism, if this is the first time you are being treated
Graves' disease, if you are younger than 50, or if
thyroid gland is only swollen a little bit (small
- Radioactive iodine is often
recommended if you have Graves' disease and are older than 50, or if you have
thyroid nodules (toxic multinodular goiter) that are
releasing too much thyroid hormone. Radioactive iodine is not used if:
are pregnant or you want to become pregnant within 6 months of
- You are breast-feeding.
- You have
thyroiditis or another kind of hyperthyroidism that is
- 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.