Radioiodine Treatment for Thyroid Disease | oneGRAVESvoice

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Patient Education

Radioiodine Treatment for Thyroid Disease

key information

source: Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation

year: N/A

authors: Cherie Lisa Vaz

summary/abstract:

Radioiodine is a radioactive isotope of iodine. It is an antithyroid radiopharmaceutical agent used to treat patients with some of the most common types of thyroid diseases, most importantly Graves’ disease and thyroid cancer. The uptake of the radioactive iodine by thyroid tissue can also be visualized with gamma scanners and therefore we also use radioiodine for thyroid gland imaging.

How Does It Work?
Normal thyroid tissue takes up iodine from blood. Like iodine, RAI (radioactive iodine) or radioiodine is similarly taken up by thyroid cells. It is taken orally, and can be administered as a capsule or solution. The iodine is subsequently concentrated in thyroid tissue. RAI then emits beta radiation which causes thyroid cell death. It induces tissue damage, resulting in ablation of the thyroid tissue within 5 to 20 weeks. This therapy can therefore be used to treat and typically cure hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease and certain other causes, as well as certain types of thyroid cancer.