radioactive iodine therapy for Graves disease

  1. I need some info regarding RAI therapy for Graves disease. Is it safe? Are there any studies showing a risk of contracting cancer?
    As for the Graves itself, does it go away after treatment? If not, what should one be aware of regarding their health for their lifetime. This disease has manifested itself in our family and is taking a huge toll on the individual. I am at a loss as to what to tell them.
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    Joined: Aug '09; Posts: 31; Likes: 36


  3. by   pearlt1000
    Radioactive iodine treatment for Graves has been the standard treatment in the US for many years. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that there are other treatment options. Other treatment options include medications to slow down thyroid production and thyroidectomy.

    My ophthalmologist was very against treating my Graves with radioactive iodine. I had moderate eye involvement, and there is some concern that RAI exacerbates this condition.

    As you probably know, Graves is an autoimmune disorder. Antibodies mimic the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and are stimulating the thyroid to over produce. The thyroid gland is not diseased and is doing exactly what it is being told to do by the antibodies; produce thyroid hormone. It seems counterproductive to ingest radiation and destroy a healthy, vital organ that is doing exactly what it is being told to do.

    I took Tapazole for almost two years, titrating the starting 20mg dose down as my Free T3 and Free T4 levels moved into the normal range. Once I was taking only 2.5mg a day with stable levels, I was able to discontinue the medication. I have had stable thyroid levels for the last three years without the need for any medication to slow down or replace thyroid hormone.

    Please advise your family member to research all options before making a choice that is permanent. They are probably feeling really rotten right now and need a lot of support.

    There are several websites and support groups online. One that I found helpful was Several members have links to studies on various treatments.
    Last edit by pearlt1000 on Apr 30, '10