Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



Most people with hyperthyroidism require beta-blockers such as propranolol (Inderal) or nadolol. Beta-blockers slow the heart rate and reduce the tremor. Beta-blockers are used while more specific therapy takes effect.

Hyperthyroidism is most often treated with anti-thyroid drug therapy. This blocks the formation of thyroid hormones. The most commonly used drug is methimazole.

Radioactive iodine destroys the thyroid. This is a more permanent option. It is used to treat hyperthyroidism caused by Graves' disease. It is also used to treat thyroid nodules producing too much thyroid hormone.

Another option is surgery to remove part of the thyroid gland. Surgery is rarely used.

Patients treated with radioactive iodine or surgery almost always need thyroid hormone replacement pills.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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