From the Division of Endocrinology, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md. Dr Cooper is Contributing Editor, JAMA.
Hyperthyroidism is a common clinical condition, with an annual incidence
of about 1%.1 Approximately 1 in every 20 women
will develop this condition during a lifetime.1
Most cases are due to Graves disease, with solitary toxic nodules and toxic
multinodular goiters being important, although less frequent, causes. The
treatment of hyperthyroidism due to Graves disease is still somewhat controversial.
In the United States, iodine 131 is the preferred therapy in adults, but antithyroid
agents are favored in younger individuals.2
In Europe and Japan, antithyroid drugs are recommended more often than 131I regardless of the patient's age.3
Surgery for hyperthyroidism is used infrequently in any part of the world.2,3
Cooper DS. Radioiodine for HyperthyroidismWhere Do We Stand After 50 Years?. JAMA. 1998;280(4):375-376. doi:10.1001/jama.280.4.375