In Europe young patients with Graves’ disease are usually treated with antithyroid drugs initially, then if hyperthyroidism recurs after a prolonged course of such medication, they are offered definitive treatment by subtotal or total thyroidectomy. Neither of these forms of treatment is free from problems. Impressed with the simplicity and safety record of radioiodine therapy, we have treated 8 young patients with radioiodine. The patients all presented with typical Graves’ disease and relapsed after 18–24 months of treatment with antithyroid drugs. They were then given the option of a further course of antithyroid medication or definitive treatment with radioiodine or surgery. Those who opted for radioiodine were treated with 131iodine in a dose of 300 MBq with the intention of ablating the thyroid. Antithyroid medication was resumed for 4–6 months and then withdrawn. Four patients became hypothyroid after a single dose of radioiodine but 4 needed a second dose. All became hypothyroid within 2 years. No adverse effects were observed, in particular no patient showed any deterioration in their eye disease. Radioiodine offers a simple, effective and inexpensive method of treatment for Graves’ disease in young patients. There are no immediate adverse effects and, although some theoretical concerns remain, to date the long-term safety record of thyroid ablation is excellent and the potential risks seem to us to be outweighed by the advantages. Even when a moderately high initial dose of radioiodine is used, a second dose may be needed.

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