Antithyroid Medications vs. Radioactive Iodine: Which is Better?

Antithyroid Medications

Antithyroid Medications vs. Radioactive Iodine: Which is Better for Health?

When looking for options for hyperthyroidism treatment, two of the most common are antithyroid medications and radioactive iodine. But, how do they compare, and which is the best option for overall health? Both carry their own set of pros and cons.

Antithyroid Medications

The primary benefit of antithyroid medications is the fact that they are the only type of treatment that can eliminate the need for surgery. This type of medication works by reducing the production of thyroid hormones, and can be taken orally. Some of the most common antithyroid medications include propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole.

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The most common side effect of these medications is a temporary reduction in white blood cell count. Additionally, antithyroid medications need to be taken for up to 18 months, with regular blood tests occurring throughout the duration of treatment.

Radioactive Iodine

Radioactive iodine is typically used for more severe cases of hyperthyroidism, and is by far the most common type of treatment used. This treatment is administered through a pill, and as the name suggests, it is radioactive.

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Radioactive iodine destroys the cells in the thyroid gland, which reduces or eliminates the production of thyroid hormones. This treatment requires only a single dose, however, the patient needs to take safety precautions such as avoiding pregnancy for around 6 months ahead of taking the pill and avoiding contact with pregnant women or newborn babies for at least one month after the pill is taken.

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The choice between antithyroid medications and radioactive iodine depends on the severity of the condition, and it is important to discuss with a healthcare provider before making any decisions. Radioactive iodine is the most common treatment for hyperthyroidism, however, it does come with potential risks and it is always worth considering all of the potential health impacts of either treatment before making any decisions.