Hyperthyroidism Treatment – Surgery, Radioactive Iodine, Antithyroid Drugs

Antithyroid Drugs

Many patients experience a natural remission of hyperthyroidism after a 1-2 year course of treatment with these, unfortunately in the most cases the remission is only temporary and it comes back requiring further treatment so there are only very few patients who can solely rely on medicaments as hyperthyroidism treatment.

About five percent of all patients have an allergic reaction to the medicaments but it’s nothing too serious and will stop soon after the discontinuing use of the drugs.

Radioactive Iodine Treatment

About 70 years ago it was discovered that the thyroid could be “cheated” by feeding it with radioactive iodine, which is an essential ingredient regarding the production of the thyroid hormone to damage it.

In most cases it is given by mouth in a capsule form, after that it is absorbed in the  bowel and enters the thyroid cells through the bloodstream to gradually destroy them. Since it is very hard to control the amount of damage it does patients usually end up developing hypothyroidism, which has to be corrected by lifelong daily thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

This treatment is considered to be the best for hyperthyroidism when caused by overproduction of thyroid hormones.

Surgery

Surgery is needed in the cases that cancer develops, a noncancerous node becomes large enough to make breathing hard, a cystic keeps returning or all other forms of hyperthyroidism treatment have failed.

Depending on in which of the cases a patient falls into a part or even the whole thyroid gland has to be removed after making an incision into the skin and pulling aside muscles/tissues to expose the thyroid gland fully.

It is considered to be a safe surgery but of course there are also some risks:

  • change of voice through nerve damage during the procedure
  • Hypoparathyroidism development