Treatment for Graves Disease

Treatment for Graves disease mainly aims at inhibiting the production of thyroid hormones and blocking the effects of these hormones on the body. The main treatment options for Graves disease include:

  • Radioactive Iodine Therapy: In this therapy, the patient is given radioactive iodine orally to measure the rate of uptake by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland requires iodine to produce the thyroid hormone and this in turn helps eliminate the overactive thyroid cells over a period.
  • Anti-thyroid Drugs: Anti-thyroid drugs cause an interference with the use of iodine by the thyroid gland to produce hormones. These drugs may be used before or after radioactive iodine therapy as a supplemental therapy option.
  • Beta-blockers: Although these drugs block the effect of the thyroid hormones on the body, they do not inhibit their production. These medications may cause side effects like palpitations, anxiety, muscle weakness, diarrhea, tremors, and heat intolerance.
  • Surgery: Surgery is usually an option when other therapies have not been effective in correcting the problem. A surgery called thyroidectomy is an option for such patients, which involves the removal of the entire or parts of the thyroid gland. Patients who undergo such surgery generally require life long supply of thyroid hormones through other replacement therapies.