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How do medications treat thyroid disorders?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Medication can be used to regulate an imbalance of thyroid hormone. If your thyroid is severely overactive or underactive, you will likely need thyroid hormone medication. Radioactive iodine is another kind of medication doctors use to treat some thyroid disorders. The iodine kills excess thyroid cells, however sometimes after using this medication people become dependent on other thyroid medication to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone. Some doctors also recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the size of a goiter.

Medications are used to treat thyroid disorders in the following ways:
  • If the thyroid is under-producing, a synthetic version of thyroid hormone is given to replace the natural hormone.
  • If the thyroid is over-producing, medications may be used to disrupt the production of thyroid hormone to help keep it in the normal range.
  • If thyroid hormone levels are high, a medical treatment with radioactive pills may be used to kill the thyroid cells.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.