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Diagnosis and Treatment |

Treatment of Hyperthyroid Disease

Irwin Klein, MD; David V. Becker, MD; and Gerald S. Levey, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From North Shore University Hospital, Cornell University Medical College, and New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York; Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Requests for Reprints: Irwin Klein, MD, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, North Shore University Hospital/Cornell University Medical College, 300 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY 11030.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1994;121(4):281-288. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-121-4-199408150-00010
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Purpose: To evaluate treatments for hyperthyroid disease.

Data Sources: Selected studies published during the last 20 years addressing the diagnosis, causes, and treatment of hyperthyroid disease.

Study Selection: Studies were chosen based on their usefulness in addressing specific points in the treatment of hyperthyroid disease.

Data Extraction: Various treatment principles extracted from the references form the basis for the conclusions and recommendations made here.

Results: Hyperthyroid disease is a common endocrine disease. Although Graves disease is the most common cause of thyrotoxicosis, other primary and secondary causes exist. With classic signs and symptoms accompanied by confirmatory laboratory measures of thyroid hyperfunction, the diagnosis can be established firmly. Radioiodine is the preferred method to treat Graves disease; however, recent data concerning treatment with a combination of propylthiouracil and thyroxine require further evaluation to establish its efficacy. Radioiodine is also the preferred treatment for the other forms of hyperthyroid disease; however, patient-specific considerations in both may require patient-tailored therapies.

Conclusions: Hyperthyroid disease can be treated definitively for most patients. Palliative therapy with β-adrenergic blockade is useful in some patients. Further studies are needed to determine whether more recently described treatments have improved efficacy and whether therapy directed specifically at the underlying immunologic cause of Graves disease can be used successfully.

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