What Is Methimazole Used For?
Methimazole is approved to treat hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) in adults and children. The medicine disrupts the production of thyroid hormone by preventing the oxidation of iodine; however, it does not affect thyroid hormones that are already circulating in the bloodstream. Methimazole can also be used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats.
An Introduction to the Uses of MethimazoleMethimazole (Tapazole®) is a prescription medication used to treat an overactive thyroid (known medically as hyperthyroidism). In people with hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much hormone. There are several hyperthyroidism causes, the most common of which is Graves' disease.
Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include (but are not limited to):
- Weight loss, despite increased appetite
- Feeling warm and being unable to tolerate heat
- Feeling nervous, restless, or jittery
- An enlarged thyroid gland (a goiter)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- A rapid or irregular heart rate (arrhythmia).
While some individuals find certain symptoms of hyperthyroidism (such as weight loss) to be desirable, this is a serious condition that needs to be treated. Treatment for an overactive thyroid can vary, depending on the cause and other factors, but may include:
- Antithyroid medications like methimazole
- Surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland
- Radioactive destruction of all or part of the thyroid gland using radioactive iodine.
While surgical or radioactive treatment can cure hyperthyroidism, most people who undergo these procedures will need to take thyroid replacement medication (such as Synthroid®) for the rest of their lives.
Antithyroid medications like methimazole are useful for controlling hyperthyroidism while a person prepares for either surgery or radioactive iodine treatment, or to treat excessively high thyroid hormone levels (a "thyroid storm") that sometimes occur as the result of thyroid surgery or radioactive treatment.