Radioiodine Therapy for Thyrotoxicosis

Radioiodine therapy is commonly used to treat thyrotoxicosis (an over-active thyroid) and has been used successfully for several decades. It is a non-invasive alternative to surgery. The radioiodine is given as a capsule, and accumulates naturally in thyroid tissue, in the same way that iodine in food is taken up by the thyroid. The radiation released by the radioiodine damages the thyroid tissue, which reduces the amount of thyroid hormones produced, alleviating the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis.

Radionuclide therapy for thyrotoxicosis is carried out on an outpatient basis at the Nuclear Medicine department of the Royal Surrey County Hospital. During the week before having the treatment, patients attend the Nuclear Medicine department for a thyroid uptake scan and a consultation with a Nuclear Medicine doctor. The doctor uses the scan to check that radioiodine therapy is suitable.

If the doctor decides that the therapy is suitable, it takes place the following week. The radioiodine is given orally in the form of a capsule by a Medical Physicist, who will also give advice on radiation protection precautions that need to be followed after the therapy.

The radiation protection advice given will depend on the amount of radioiodine that you receive and what your home and work circumstances are. In general, this will involve restricting close contact with other people for up to three weeks.

More detailed information on this therapy can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet:

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