Side Effects

Side effects of RAI given at doses to treat benign thyroid disease are generally mild, infrequent, and self-limiting. These include thyroid tenderness, salivary gland swelling, and nausea. In addition to permanent hypothyroidism, transient hypothyroidism may also occur (44,45). Transient hypoparathyroidism has also been reported (46). Thyroid tenderness and swelling may respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Exacerbation of hyperthyroidism may also occur, but thyroid storm, although potentially fatal, is considered uncommon (47). Severe side effects appear more likely in patients with large goiters, who may also be at risk of tracheal compression on very rare occasions (48). Vocal cord paresis has also been reported as an extremely rare complication of RAI therapy (49).

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