Saul Marcus, ND - Naturopathic Doctor

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Medications For Hyperthyroidism

Drugs or destruction of the thyroid gland?

Conventional treatment for Graves disease is either use toxic medications, or destroy the thyroid gland itself either by surgical removal, or radioactive iodine therapy. Neither option is very good.

In some cases (particular younger patients) doctors may recommend medication in the hope that in time the condition will go away on its own. In more severe cases, or older patients doctors will typically recommend destruction of thyroid gland. Medications are often prescribed as a temporary measure to control symptoms until the condition is "cured" through radioactive iodine.

It's important to note that although Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that effects the thyroid gland (so it is more an immune system disorder, than a thyroid disease per se), none of the conventional medical treatments to anything to actually help the immune system.

The pages on this website intend to give patients another option; using supplements and natural treatments to control symptoms and actually work on the underlining causes of Graves disease.

This website is not intended to be against the use of medications in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Every case is different, and when considering the possible severe effects hyperthyroidism has on the body, at times medications may be warrant. However, for many people there may be other options to consider as well.

Methimazole and Propylthiouracil

Methimazole is also known as Tapazole or Thiamazole. Propylthiouracil is often abbreviated as PTU.

Both of these medications treat hyperthyroidism by blocking the enzyme thyroidperoxidase, which is needed to produce thyroid hormone.

Methimazole is typically the preferred medications. It is less likely to cause hepatic necrosis compared to Propylthiouracil. In 2009 the FDA issued a warning about the risk of serious liver injury, including liver failure and death with the use of propylthiouracil. Agranulocytosis is an uncommon, but severe side effect of both methimazole and propylthiouracil. This is a drop in white blood cells, which thus compromise the immune system.

Side effects of methimazole:

(as listed on


Side effects of Propylthiouracil:

(as listed on

Less common


Other blood pressure medication may be used, however propanolol is the one most commonly prescribed in hyperthyroidism. Propanolol is beta-blocker mediation commonly used for hypertension (high blood pressure). It has no direct effect on the thyroid, or thyroid hormone.

Used for tachycardia (increased heart rate), tremor, diaphoresis (increased sweating) and anxiety. Also used to treat thyroid storm.