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Generic Name: Propylthiouracil
Brand Names: Propylthiouracil, Propacil, Tiotil, Thyreostat II, Propycil, Propyl-Thyracil, Propil, CP-PTU, Thyrosan, Propyl
Propylthiouracil is an anti-thyroid agent used to reduce the amount of thyroid hormone produced by your body. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Why is Propylthiouracil prescribed?
Propylthiouracil, a synthetic thyroid hormone may be given in any of the following cases: If your own thyroid gland is not making enough hormone; If you have an enlarged thyroid (a goiter) or are at risk for developing a goiter; If you have certain cancers of the thyroid;
If your thyroid production is low due to surgery, radiation, certain drugs, or disease of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus in the brain.
Most important fact about Propylthiouracil
If you are taking Propylthiouracil to make up for a lack of natural hormone, it is important to take it regularly at the same time every day. You will probably need to take it for the rest of your life.
How should you take Propylthiouracil?
Take Propylthiouracil as a single dose, preferably on an empty stomach, one-half to one hour before breakfast. The drug is absorbed better on an empty stomach. If an infant or child cannot swallow whole tablets, you may crush a Propylthiouracil tablet and mix it into 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls of water. While taking Propylthiouracil, your doctor will perform periodic blood tests to determine whether you are getting the right amount.
If you miss a dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. If you miss 2 or more doses in a row, consult your doctor.
Keep this medication in a tightly closed container. Store it at room temperature, away from light and moisture.
What Propylthiouracil side effects may occur?
Side effects from Propylthiouracil, other than overdose symptoms, are rare. People who are treated with Propylthiouracil may initially lose some hair, but this effect is usually temporary. You may have an allergic reaction such as a rash or hives. Children may have an increase in pressure within the skull. Excessive dosage or a too rapid increase in dosage may lead to overstimulation of the thyroid gland. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop any if the following symptoms.
Symptoms of overstimulation:
Abdominal cramps, anxiety, changes in appetite, change in menstrual periods, chest pain, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, fever, flushing, hair loss, headache, heart attack or failure, heat intolerance, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, irritability, muscle weakness, nausea, nervousness, palpitations, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, sweating, tremors, vomiting, weight loss
Possible food and drug interactions when taking Propylthiouracil
Propylthiouracil can interact with a wide variety of medications. It's advisable to check with your doctor before taking any other drug, but you should be especially wary of the following:
Androgens (male hormones)
Antacids and anti-gas medications
Antidepressants such as Elavil, Ludiomil, and Zoloft
Blood pressure drugs such as beta blockers, nitroprusside, and thiazide diuretics
Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin and heparin
Chloral hydrate (a sedative)
Diabetes drugs such as insulin and Micronase
Digitalis-type drugs such as Lanoxin
Estrogen products and oral contraceptives
Hormone inhibitors such as Cytadren and Tapazole
Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
Methadone and heroin
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone and aspirin
Parkinson's drugs such as Sinemet
Propylthiouracil (a thyroid inhibitor)
Seizure medications such as Dilantin, Tegretol, and phenobarbital
Steroids such as dexamethasone and hydrocortisone
Stimulants such as epinephrine (EpiPen)
The cancer drugs 5-fluorouracil, 6-mercaptopurine, mitotane, and tamoxifen
The cholesterol-lowering drugs Colestid, Mevacor, and Questran
The immune-system drugs interferon and interleukin
The tranquilizers Trilafon and Valium
The tuberculosis drugs aminosalicylate, rifampin, and ethionamide
A high-fiber diet, soy-containing supplements, and walnuts can also interfere with Propylthiouracil effects.
Special Propylthiouracil information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
If you need to take Propylthiouracil because of a thyroid hormone deficiency, you can continue to take the medication during pregnancy. In fact, your doctor will test you regularly and may increase your dose. Once your baby is born, you may breastfeed while continuing to take carefully regulated doses of Propylthiouracil.
Recommended Propylthiouracil dosage
Your doctor will tailor the dosage to meet your individual requirements, taking into consideration the status of your thyroid gland and other medical conditions you may have. Older adults often require somewhat smaller doses. To make sure the dosage is right for you, the doctor will monitor your thyroid hormone level with periodic blood tests.
An overdose of Propylthiouracil can produce the same symptoms of overstimulation listed under "What side effects may occur?" Confusion and disorientation are also possible, and there have been reports of stroke, shock, coma, and death. If you suspect a massive overdose, seek emergency medical attention immediately.