I came across this information on another web site, and thought I’d pass it along. It involves the advantages and disadvantages of the various treatment options we have as Graves patients.
ANTITHYROID DRUGS: Advantages: No surgery and no use of radioactive materials. Disadvantages: TReatment is prolonged and the failure rate after a course of 1 1/2 to 2 years is at least 50% It is impossible to predict which patient is likely to go into remission Some goiters enlarge and become vascular during treatment Very rarely, dangerous drug reactions like agranulocytosis or aplastic anemia occur. RADIOACTIVE IODINE Advantages: No surgery, no prolonged drug treatment Disadvantages: Isotope facilities must be available High and progressive incidence of thyroid insufficiency which may read 75 to 80% after 10 years Indefinite follow up is essential (i.e. you must get blood work done to check hormone levels on a periodic basis).
SURGERY Advantages: The goiter is removed, the cure is rapid and the cure rate is high if surgery has been adequate Disadvantages: Recurrence of thyroitoxicosis occurs in 5 to 10% of the cases Every operation carries certain morbidity and mortality risk Post-operative thyroid insufficiency occurs in 20 to 45% of cases Follow up is required to watch for recurrence or thyroid failure In less than 0.5% of cases, parathyroid insufficiency occur.