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Is internal iodine safe to take if I have hyperthyroidism?

Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MD
Internal Medicine
Pharmacologic doses of iodine is a treatment option for patients with hyperthyroidism. Iodine is important in thyroid hormone production. When pharmacologic doses of iodine is given to a patient with hyperthyroidism, a temporary reduction in thyroid hormone production occurs. This reduction is at its maximal response about 10 days into therapy. Iodine is sometimes given to patients who have severely high thyroid hormone production known as a "thyroid storm," in patient's undergoing thyroidectomy with Graves disease or as an added treatment in patients receiving radioiodide treatment for Graves disease. If hyperthyroidism is due to a tumor of the thyroid gland known as a "hyperfunctioning nodule" or due to several tumors all excessively producing thyroid hormone, then iodine should not be administered because it may allow for more thyroid hormone to be produced and in so doing worsen hyperthyroidism. Medication known as thionamides should be given first in this situation before considering iodine.

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