Is it safe to undergo radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism?
Q: I am a 42 years old female diagnosed with hyperthyroidism two years back. I started taking drugs and after one year, I also developed goitre (enlargement of my throat), while other tests were normal. I continue to have goitre and taking drugs. During the course of treatment I was given anti-thyroid drugs (Inderal 10 mg and Thyrocab in the range of 40 mg down to 5 mg). Most of the time on thyroid tests during the period it was under control with normal values. Recently, my thyroid values went higher again with drugs. I am worried should I continue taking drugs for such long time, I heard that radioactive iodine treatment can be given to me. Please advise me.
A:You have hyperthyroidism. The teratment options are medications (already taking), surgery and radioiodine treatment. Radioiodine treatment is one of the best options as it cures the disease within few months. The only long term side effect is induction of hypothyroidism which is very easy to treat by taking thyroid hormone replacement. In the current era indications of surgery are very few such as very large goiter, extension in the thorax (chest) and severe eye disease (ophthalmopathy). You may continue to take medications for long time but problem is there are frequent fluctuations in thyroid functions, need for frequent tests and visit to doctor and if not controlled then long standing hyperthyroidism can lead on to osteoporosis and heart problem.