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Treatment Options

How is Graves’ disease treated?

Graves' disease is treated three ways. The choice of treatment varies to some degree from country to country, and among particular physicians as well. The decision should be made with the full knowledge and informed consent of the patient, who is the primary member of the treatment team. The selection of treatment will include factors such as age, degree of illness, and personal preferences. Generally speaking, from least invasive to most invasive, the treatments include:

  1. Anti-thyroid drugs, which inhibit production or conversion of the active thyroid hormone
  2. Total thyroidectomy, in which a surgeon removes the thyroid gland and renders it incapable of overproducing thyroid hormone
  3. Radioactive iodine (I-131), which destroys part or all of the thyroid gland and renders it incapable of overproducing thyroid hormone

For in-depth information on the three treatment options, please visit our patient education page.

Are there any alternatives for treating Graves’ disease?

There are a number of things that you can do to assist your body in healing. However, the state of science as we know it indicates there is no "natural" way to "cure" Graves' disease. For instance, although there are no specific foods that will change your thyroid function, the healthier, nutritionally dense foods you eat, the better your body will be able to fight against infection and further insult. Equally, many of the treatments like acupuncture, exercise, meditation, and various mind-body therapies may provide comfort measures and relief, but are not a substitute for standard medical treatment. Be sure to consult and collaborate with your physician when embarking on additional therapies. There are many studies of other auto-immune diseases that indicate that the more input and control a patient has in their care, the more rapid their recovery will be. It is of interest to all who are hopeful of more, effective additional treatment models in the future that the National Institutes of Health are trying to adequately research and evaluate the hard data of alternative therapies.

What are the complications with Graves’ disease?

Graves' disease usually responds to treatment, and after the initial period of hyperthyroidism, is relatively easy to treat and manage. There are some exceptions to this, and for some, treatment and subsequent stabilization are much more challenging, both to the patient and the treating team of physicians. The more serious complications of prolonged, untreated, or improperly treated Graves' disease include weakened heart muscle leading to heart failure; osteoporosis, or possible severe emotional disorders.

Recent News

Recent Forum Posts

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    July 20, 2016, 1:22 p.m.

    Hopefully, your doctor is looking at Free T4 and T3 in making dosing decisions. TSH can remain suppressed for...

  • 3 year old with graves

    July 20, 2016, 1:18 p.m.

    Liz1967 Just one study. Methimazole is not a totally innocuous drug. Agranulocytosis is a bone marrow...

  • Iodine questions

    July 19, 2016, 11:14 p.m.

    When I was first diagnosed with Graves', a well-meaning relative suggested that I take an iodine supplement....

  • Iodine questions

    July 19, 2016, 12:35 p.m.

    Hi and welcome to the forum - you'll find lots of help and good information here. Your question caught my...

  • Iodine questions

    July 19, 2016, 10:47 a.m.

    Hello and welcome, I myself have not been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. However when tested my thyroid...

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    July 19, 2016, 5:37 a.m.

    That is very helpful. I am anxious to talk to the dr today. I am feeling very hyper - woke up STARVING! It is...

  • thyroidectomy: what is the rationale and your experience?

    July 19, 2016, 5:28 a.m.

    1. When I was initially diagnosed with Graves' almost 5 years ago, I was leaning toward thyroidectomy because...

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    July 18, 2016, 8:19 p.m.

    Oh, so sorry! That TSH must have you feeling miserable! (I think my mood is much worse when my hormone levels...

  • thyroidectomy: what is the rationale and your experience?

    July 18, 2016, 6:01 p.m.

    I had a total thyroidectomy after six months on methimazole. Best decision I ever made. A good surgeon pretty...

  • thyroidectomy: what is the rationale and your experience?

    July 18, 2016, 9:34 a.m.

    Hi everyone, I was wondering if I could get your thoughts. I have been on methimazole and finding the right...

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    July 18, 2016, 7:03 a.m.

    I got my blood tests back and my TSH is 15 times what is supposed to be. This explains the weight. I am off...

  • Iodine questions

    July 15, 2016, 4:54 p.m.

    I was diagnosed with Graves' disease two years ago and was put on atd methimazole 20mg. I have recently...

  • 3 year old with graves

    July 15, 2016, 8:42 a.m.

    Hello again, You already have been told about Dr. Scott Rivkees’ videos Here is the link to one of his videos...

  • 3 year old with graves

    July 13, 2016, 11:54 a.m.

    Massive plasmacytosis with severe marrow suppression induced by methimazole in Graves' disease patients: case...

  • 3 year old with graves

    July 13, 2016, 11:33 a.m.

    Receiving conflicting advice does not make it easy for you to choose the best treatment for your daughter....

Questions? Problems? Please contact us at info@ngdf.org or 877-643-3123.

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© 2016 Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation