Hold control (command on a Mac) and press the + key as many times as necessary to increase the font size.
Hold control (command on a Mac) and press the - key to reduce the font size. - hide

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

  • Peripheral neuropathy and leg cramps

    July 22, 2014, 10:51 a.m.

    Hello - I do know of one other patient who experienced peripheral neuropathy at the onset of Graves', but I...

  • Is there always weight gain after TT? RAI?

    July 22, 2014, 10:47 a.m.

    JEH PS Do you guys all have to read your posts over to be sure they make sense? I do. Guess it's part of the...

  • Peripheral neuropathy and leg cramps

    July 22, 2014, 9:33 a.m.

    So there are two symptoms I have been dealing with since even before I was diagnosed with GD. The PN causes...

  • Is there always weight gain after TT? RAI?

    July 22, 2014, 9:20 a.m.

    So I went off all my thyroid meds in 2006 at the recommendation of new endo. Heart rate and BP remained...

  • Loss of appetite after RAI?

    July 22, 2014, 7:08 a.m.

    Hi Michaela, With me it's just the other way around. I had RAI in July 2013, and ever since I haven't seen a...

  • Question about TED surgery

    July 21, 2014, 4:42 p.m.

    Hello - I'm not familiar with that procedure, but hopefully, you will see some other responses. I did find...

  • Question about TED surgery

    July 21, 2014, 12:41 p.m.

    Hi. I was diagnosed with Graves in September 2011 and TED in June 2012. I underwent 10 radiation treatments...

  • Loss of appetite after RAI?

    July 21, 2014, 10:44 a.m.

    Hello - Hopefully, others who have had RAI will chime in here, but I do not recall hearing this as a common...

  • Does weight loss affect dosage?

    July 21, 2014, 10:39 a.m.

    Hello - Weight is a factor in making the initial estimate of thyroid replacement hormone, although a recent...

  • Loss of appetite after RAI?

    July 20, 2014, 12:53 p.m.

    I don't know if this has to do with treating Graves in general, or happens after RAI, but I did RAI slightly...

  • Is there always weight gain after TT? RAI?

    July 19, 2014, 7:06 p.m.

    Hi JEH< Soooo…when we have Graves' all of us begin with an ATD, anti thyroid drug, to decrease our...

  • Is there always weight gain after TT? RAI?

    July 19, 2014, 3:53 p.m.

    Thank you so much Shirley. I thought TT meant thyroid treatment verses radiation or surgery. Opps. Although...

  • Dual Diagnosis

    July 19, 2014, 3:45 p.m.

    I remember hearing all of my life about my paternal grandmother (who was a centenarian when she passed in...

  • Does weight loss affect dosage?

    July 19, 2014, 8:19 a.m.

    Interesting! I could not find any study, reference, etc. that states or alludes to the fact that weight is a...

  • Does weight loss affect dosage?

    July 18, 2014, 7:17 p.m.

    Hi all! From May to June, I was taking 100 mg Levo. I was feeling great and my TSH was 1.20 (normal range). I...

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

GDATF on Facebook

Support the GDATF and become a member today!

© 2014 Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation