We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Propylthiouracil?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Propylthiouracil or PTU is an antithyroid medication used in the management of an overactive thyroid gland to lower the levels of thyroid hormone in the body. This medication may be used alone as a solo form of therapy to bring a patient's hormone levels down and keep them at a safe level. It can also be used in patients preparing for surgical treatment of hyperthyroidism. One of the most common reasons to prescribe this medication is for the treatment of Grave's disease, a frequent cause of hyperthyroidism.

This medication was approved for use in the 1940s. It comes in the form of tablets. Initial doses are usually high to force thyroid hormone levels to drop, and over time, the patient is tapered to a lower dosage safe for long term usage. The patient will be monitored by an endocrinologist as the dosage is adjusted to find the point where thyroid hormone production stays stable and balanced. Follow-up appointments can be used to confirm the treatment is still working well for the patient.

Propylthiouracil functions by blocking the production of thyroid hormone in the body. It inhibits the actions of enzymes involved in hormone synthesis. The medication starts working in the body very quickly and the life of a dose can be eight hours or more. The most common side effects associated with propylthiouracil use are related to the skin. Patients can develop rashes, itching, hives, and other forms of skin irritation as reactions to the medication.

Less commonly, the medication can cause issues like nausea, joint pain, swelling, vomiting, and headache. Patients can also develop bleeding disorders and a decrease in white blood cells. Studies show that propylthiouracil is dangerous in pregnancy, although there may be cases when concerns about the health of the mother outweigh this risk, and propylthiouracil is safer than some other antithyroid medications, making it the best choice when a pregnant woman's hyperthyroidism absolutely must be controlled pharmacologically.

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States noted an increased incidence of serious liver problems among patients taking propylthiouracil, and in 2010, it added a warning to the prescription packaging. People with a history of liver disease may not be able to take this medication and periodic liver function testing for patients on the drug may be recommended to monitor the liver's condition, allowing doctors to take quick action if a patient begins to experience an adverse reaction to the medication.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.