According to everything I’ve read about anti-thyroid drugs vs. RAI, the chances for remission on the drugs is low. Most U.S. (anyway) reports (from the Thyroid Assn. etc.) list the likelihood of remission at 20%. And THAT is based on age, the size of the thyroid, etc. The way my endo put it, “Do you want to be seventy years old and go hyper again?” (I am in my early fifties.) I fit the parameters for possible success on anti-thyroid drugs, except for my age.
RAI is not the treatment of choice if you are 1)pregnant or 2)have severe Graves eye disease. There is a “slight” chance that RAI can aggravate the eye disease, and if you’ve already got major eye problems the doctors don’t want to risk making it worse. At least mine.
Factors that I weighed before opting for RAI, included the fact that the synthetic thyroid hormones that I’ll have to take from here on out do not have the serious side-effect potential that PTU/Tapazole have. I realize that those side effects are relatively rare, but they are so awful (they don’t just lower your white blood count, they can suppress, permanently–in RARE cases–your bone marrow) that I just wasn’t comfortable risking them, when the alternative seemed to be more “benign”. (Well, here’s hoping anyway.) The choice is not perfect. I really don’t like the idea of just eliminating the thyroid, either. But I guess I am not enough of a gambler to think that I’d be one of the lucky 20% who achieved remission the other way.
I really think that it is important for all of us to find out from our doctors HOW they are coming to their conclusions, and WHAT kinds of thoughts are leading them to suggest one treatment over another. As others have mentioned on the board, it can be frustrating when two doctors say totally different things. Finding out how they are coming to their conclusions can go a long way to helping you decide which route seems the best for YOU, and fits in best with what YOU want, and what YOU are willing to risk/tolerate.