The management of hyperthyroidism

N Engl J Med. 1994 Jun 16;330(24):1731-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199406163302407.


Although effective treatments for hyperthyroidism are available, none is perfect. Particularly with respect to Graves' disease, what is needed is a therapy directed at modulating the disease process itself rather than merely reducing the synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormones in the hope that the underlying Graves' disease will remit. Greater understanding of the pathogenesis of Graves' disease, resulting from cloning of the thyrotropin receptor and better knowledge of the interactions between these receptors or other thyroid antigens and the immune system, may lead to such treatment. Broad-spectrum immunosuppression, with all its side effects, is not the answer; more focused therapies to inhibit the immune response to specific thyroid antigens may represent the treatment of the future. Meanwhile, radioiodine therapy is the most effective and convenient method of achieving long-term control of hyperthyroidism, although at the cost of hypothyroidism in many patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / etiology
  • Hyperthyroidism / therapy*
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Thyroid Diseases / complications
  • Thyroid Diseases / therapy
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Iodine Radioisotopes