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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Hyperthyroidism Treatment

Hyperthyroidism Treatment Cost

How Much Does Hyperthyroidism Treatment Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: Doctor-Visit and Prescription Copayshigh costWithout Health Insurance: $120-$1,800 Pear Year
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In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid is overactive and produces too much of a certain hormone. This can cause irregular heartbeat, anxiety, weight loss and other problems. Treatment typically involves oral medications or, rarely, surgery.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, the typical cost of hyperthyroidism treatment will include doctor copays and prescription drug copays. Hyperthyroidism treatment typically is covered by health insurance.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, the typical cost of hyperthyroid treatment is $10-$150 a month -- or $120-$1,800 a year -- for drugs, or up to $4,000 or more for a radioactive iodine treatment or up to $25,000 or more for surgery. For example, a one-month supply of the generic anti-thyroid drug methimazole costs about $30-$120, depending on the dose -- or, about $360-$1,440 a year. And a one-month supply of the brand-name drug Tapazole costs about $90-$150 or more, depending on the dose -- or, about $1,080-$1,800 per year. Once the hyperthyroidism is under control, the dose typically can be lowered to a maintenance dose, which typically would cost $10-$30 a month ($120-$360 a year) for the generic drug or $30-$90 a month ($360-$1,080 a year) for the brand-name drug. A radioactive iodine treatment costs about $390 to $750 for an average dose, according to a February 2011 article[1] published in the New England Journal of Medicine, but patients at report[2] total costs of $4,000 or more, including hospital and radiologist fees. And, at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[3] in Nebraska, a thyroidectomy -- surgery to remove the thyroid -- costs from just under $12,000 to more than $21,000, not including the doctor fees. Doctor fees can add thousands of dollars to the total cost.
Related articles: Thyroid Test, Blood Tests, Hypothyroidism Treatment, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • The most common treatment for hyperthyroidism is a single dose of radioactive iodine[4] , taken in pill form, which can shrink or destroy the thyroid. The treatment typically is administered at a hospital under radiologist supervision; depending on the dose, the patient might need to be hospitalized. After treatment, the patient must avoid close contact with others for several days. Symptoms usually begin to lessen within weeks, but it takes about six months or longer for the treatment to finish working.
  • As an alternative, a doctor might prescribe oral anti-thyroid medications[5] such as methimazole, which make it more difficult for the thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Symptoms typically begin to lessen in weeks, but treatment might continue for a year or more. Symptoms could return after treatment ends.
  • In rare cases, a surgeon might perform a thyroidectomy[6] , which typically requires general anesthesia and a one-day hospital stay.
  • The Mayo Clinic offers an overview of hyperthyroidism treatment[7] .
Additional costs:
  • Doctors sometimes prescribe beta blockers to help control an irregular heartbeat until the hyperthyroidism is under control with medication. Beta blockers[8] can cost about $10-$200 a month.
  • After the thyroid is destroyed by a radioactive iodine treatment or surgically removed, the patient typically needs to take thyroid hormone replacement such as levothyroxine[9] , which typically costs $15-$45 per month.
  • In some cases, a radioactive iodine treatment will need to be repeated if it is not successful the first time.
  • Some clinics offer specialist care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a locator[10] for clinics that provide discounts on an income-based sliding scale.
  • Many doctors and hospitals give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[11] in California offers a 35%discount.
Shopping for hyperthyroidism treatment:
  • A primary care physician can make a referral to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating problems of the endocrine system. Or, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists offers a doctor locator[12] by city and state. To help patients find an endocrinologist who focuses on thyroid problems, the American Thyroid Association offers a thyroid specialist locator[13] by state.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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