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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

  • Hello

    Nov. 21, 2014, 3:37 p.m.

    Hello - Insomnia is definitely a symptom of hyperthyroidism, and I've also heard stories from others who had...

  • Hi - RAI update in UK.

    Nov. 21, 2014, 3:25 p.m.

    joy123 I notice the T4 has raised since the last bloods - is this a good sign? I`ve been experiencing nausea...

  • Hello

    Nov. 21, 2014, 8:09 a.m.

    Hello swithed,ive had graves diagnosed for 20 years.had RAI 20 years ago.i well remember the insomnia.in the...

  • Hello

    Nov. 21, 2014, 7:43 a.m.

    Shirley is right. It is important to find a good surgeon who does a lot of thyroidectomies. Mine was great,...

  • Hello

    Nov. 20, 2014, 8:03 p.m.

    I had surgery. Cause it was the quickest. And it is. Major consideration is that you need a few weeks,...

  • Hello

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

    I had no luck with methimazole and eventually got tired of feeling bad, but it is certainly worth trying. If...

  • Update and swollen lymph nodes

    Nov. 20, 2014, 12:20 p.m.

    I had a total thyroidectomy after seven months of messing around with methimazole dosing. Best decision, easy...

  • Hi all! Been a long time! 2.5+ years!

    Nov. 19, 2014, 6:23 p.m.

    Thanks Kimberly. Saw Dr today, go back Fri for blood work. He says I have to take the methimazole twice a...

  • Hello

    Nov. 19, 2014, 6:08 p.m.

    Hi all, Another question - Some things I have read recently have me confused. Some say surgery is still a...

  • Hi all! Been a long time! 2.5+ years!

    Nov. 19, 2014, 9:17 a.m.

    Hello and welcome back! Hopefully, others will chime in on the sleep issues…I would definitely mention...

  • Hi - RAI update in UK.

    Nov. 19, 2014, 4:08 a.m.

    Thanks Kimberly Well looks like the RAI worked….my blood levels from yesterday are TSH 6.00 (0.35-...

  • Hi all! Been a long time! 2.5+ years!

    Nov. 18, 2014, 11:46 p.m.

    And I am much worse! For those that remember, last time I was here, I was getting ready for shoulder surgery...

  • Update and swollen lymph nodes

    Nov. 18, 2014, 5:17 p.m.

    Hi calbears, I'm so sorry you have to ride the roller coaster! I'm pretty sensitive to small changes in the...

  • Update and swollen lymph nodes

    Nov. 18, 2014, 6:38 a.m.

    Sorry for the continued rollercoaster ride! It sounds like you are someone (like me) who is fairly sensitive...

  • Update and swollen lymph nodes

    Nov. 17, 2014, 8:34 p.m.

    Yes, we really don't realize that hyPO is as hellish and awful as hyPER, until we have that experience. I am...

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