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Treatment of Graves’ Disease with Propylthiouracil

Graves’ disease is a type of hyperthyroidism, and autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the thyroid gland, and causes it to mass produce the thyroxine hormone. This increases the body’s metabolic rate, and can be life-threatening. The thyroid grows, often to more than double its original size.
Propylthiouracil is used to treat hyperthyroidism associated with Graves’ disease. However, these reports may indicate that methimazole is a better alternative. Symptoms of hepatoxicity (liver damage) include dark urine, yellow eyes, and elevated liver enzymes.
The FDA reports at least 32 cases of severe liver injury, including 13 deaths and 11 liver transplants, in patients treated with Propylthiouracil. By comparison, only 5 cases of severe liver injury (3 resulting in death) have been reported to the FDA Adverse Events Reporting System (AERS) for methimazole.

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