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Hyperthyroidism - Treatment Overview

Ongoing treatment

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 regular 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 gland (thyroidectomy).

Sometimes treatment cures your hyperthyroidism but may cause hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism—instead of making too much thyroid hormone, your body is now making too little thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is most common after treatment with radioactive iodine. But it can also occur after surgery and sometimes after taking antithyroid medicine.

Be sure to call your doctor if you start to gain weight, feel tired, or feel cold more often than usual. These symptoms may mean you have hypothyroidism and you need to take a different medicine called thyroid hormone medicine. For more information, see the topic Hypothyroidism.

Treatment if the condition gets worse

If radioactive iodine or antithyroid medicines are not working well, you may need:

  • Another treatment of radioactive iodine.
  • Surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland (thyroidectomy).

After treatment with radioactive iodine, you may develop hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone). Call your doctor if you have any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism such as gaining weight, feeling tired, or feeling cold more often than usual. If you do have hypothyroidism, you may need to take thyroid hormone medicine for the rest of your life. For more information, see the topic Hypothyroidism.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 10, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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