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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

  • Still fluctuating after all these years

    Aug. 16, 2018, 8:18 p.m.

    Hi Sue, thank you for tour reply. I really appreciate the advice.

  • Thyroidectomy

    Aug. 16, 2018, 6:02 p.m.

    Hi Liz. Thank you for your reply and sharing your story. I really appreciate the support. Methimazole has...

  • Thyroidectomy

    Aug. 16, 2018, 5:39 p.m.

    The thyroidectomy is easy compared to dealing with methimazole! I had my thyroidectomy six months after...

  • Thyroidectomy

    Aug. 16, 2018, 1:20 p.m.

    Hello - You can use the “search posts” feature when you are logged in to check out stories from...

  • Thyroidectomy

    Aug. 16, 2018, 11:45 a.m.

    I have just been cleared for a thyroidectomy. I have Graves disease which has not responded well to...

  • Rise and Fall of Body Temperature

    Aug. 13, 2018, 9:53 a.m.

    Normal body temperature is between 97 and 99. Daily variation is not abnormal.

  • Still fluctuating after all these years

    Aug. 13, 2018, 9:42 a.m.

    Hello Cl14. I agree with Kimberly, but also what I have found EXTREMELY helpful over the years is to keep a...

  • Rise and Fall of Body Temperature

    Aug. 13, 2018, 9:40 a.m.

    Hello and welcome - We are a fairly small organization and don't currently have a support group in Maryland....

  • Still fluctuating after all these years

    Aug. 13, 2018, 9:32 a.m.

    Hello and welcome - methimazole clears the body fairly quickly, so you should start to see those hypO...

  • Still fluctuating after all these years

    Aug. 11, 2018, 3:55 p.m.

    Hello, I was recently diagnosed with Graves’ disease in May 2018. I was severely hyperthyroid at the time and...

  • Rise and Fall of Body Temperature

    Aug. 11, 2018, 3 p.m.

    I have been living with thyroid disease for 34 years now diagnosed at the age of 24. After a 15 year period...

  • Graves symptoms after RAI and failed thyroid medicine

    Aug. 10, 2018, 5:55 p.m.

    Hello - There are unfortunately no alternatives to thyroid hormone replacement. Tirosint is a brand name...

  • Graves symptoms after RAI and failed thyroid medicine

    Aug. 3, 2018, 3:42 a.m.

    What are your numbers? I go by TSH alone, keeping it between 1 and 2. Since you cannot be hypo and hyper at...

  • Multiple questions

    Aug. 1, 2018, 7:15 p.m.

    Do you think the pain in your legs could be in the muscle? Years ago I was having calf pain, usually in the...

  • Graves symptoms after RAI and failed thyroid medicine

    Aug. 1, 2018, 6:33 p.m.

    In 2010 I was diagnosed with Graves. I tried medicine but it trashed my liver and made me gain over 30lbs. A...

Questions? Problems? Please contact us at [email protected] or 877-643-3123.

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