Treating Graves' - Different Strokes | oneGRAVESvoice

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Patient Education

Treating Graves’ – Different Strokes

key information

source: Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation

year: N/A

authors: David S. Cooper


Once the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease is made, the next step is for the patient and the physician to sit down and discuss the most appropriate treatment. The choice of therapy is not an easy one, since all treatments are effective, yet all have certain advantages and disadvantages.

Antithyroid Drugs
Antithyroid drugs are commonly prescribed. There are two of them: propylthiouracil (nicknamed PTU) and methimazole (the brand name is Tapazole®). These drugs block the thyroid’s ability to make thyroid hormone. After a few weeks to 2 to 3 months the blood levels of thyroid hormone in the blood decrease towards normal. The speed of the response is determined by a number of factors, including the dose of the drug, the severity of the thyroid problem, and the size of the thyroid gland. Antithyroid drugs almost always work, and they are usually well-tolerated. However, about 5 – 10% of people have side-effects, including skin rashes, itching, joint pains, and fever.