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What is the Treatment for Graves Disease?

Discover effective treatments for Graves' disease, from medications like beta-blockers and thionamides to surgical options and lifestyle management. Ensure good health insurance coverage for associated expenses.

  • 25 Jan 2024
  • 3 min read

Graves' disease is an autoimmune situation that primarily affects the thyroid glands on the front side of our neck. Other organs that might also be affected by Graves' disease are skin, heart, eyes, bones, liver, and skeletal muscles. If not diagnosed and treated on time, this disease can cause exaggerated thyroid gland function, which is associated with a high disease burden and death rate. The treatment offered for Graves' disease depends upon the stage of the disease and the symptoms experienced. Usually, treatment offers good outcomes with rapid control over the symptoms. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of Grave disease treatment.

Treatment of Graves Disease

Graves' disease is the primary cause of hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). In most cases, the presentation of this disease comes with conventional hyperthyroidism symptoms, which also depend upon the age of disease onset and gender. The following options are recommended for Graves' disease treatment

  • Beta-adrenergic Blockers – Patients with initial symptoms of Graves' disease are mostly recommended beta-adrenergic blockers. It is particularly useful for elder hyperthyroid patients with a medical history of cardiovascular diseases. Propranolol and Metoprolol are beta-blockers which is generally prescribed in patients with Graves' disease to regulate associated cardiopathies. 
  • Anti-thyroid Drugs (Thionamides) – The two most common anti-thyroid drugs in use are Methimazole (MMI) and propylthiouracil (PTU).  These drugs work by reducing exaggerated thyroid function.  Propylthiouracil is also known to partially block the peripheral conversion of T4 to T3. Methimazole is a common drug to treat non-pregnant patients. For pregnant women in the first trimester, propylthiouracil is recommended to avoid harmful side effects.
  • Thyroidectomy – This is the surgical removal of the thyroid gland. It is recommended for patients with significant thyroid enlargement, which can result in neck compression. It is also recommended for patients who have thyroid cancer or thyroid nodules.  
  • Treatment of Graves' Orbitopathy – The treatment recommended depends upon the severity of the disease. In most cases, the thyroid hormone level is controlled first. For patients with mild orbitopathy, RAI (Radioactive Iodine therapy) therapy is recommended. For moderate to severe cases of Graves' orbitopathy, prednisone and methylprednisolone therapy is recommended. Glucocorticoids, teprotumumab, rituximab, and orbital irradiation are also recommended.

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Being a systemic disease (where many organs could be affected), the management of Graves' disease requires a multi-modal approach. Switching to a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise helps to manage hyperthyroidism. The various therapies mentioned above have proven efficacies in managing Graves' disease. These therapies are associated with significant economic burdens, stressing on the importance of having a good health insurance policy to cover those unwelcomed expenses easily.  

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