Propylthiouracil is a drug used to treat hyperthyroidism, which occurs when a person's thyroid levels are higher than normal. It comes in tablet form, and is generally taken three times a day. This medication is typically not the first choice of healthcare providers for hyperthyroidism because it carries a high risk of liver disease. Commonly reported side effects include nausea, headache, and muscle pain.
What Is Propylthiouracil?Propylthiouracil (PTU) is a prescription antithyroid medication used to treat an overactive thyroid (known medically as hyperthyroidism). Because of the risk of serious liver problems, it is usually reserved only for use in people who are allergic to or cannot tolerate methimazole (Tapazole®), a safer antithyroid medication, or for women in the first trimester of pregnancy.
(Click Propylthiouracil Uses for more information on what this medication is used for, including possible off-label indications.)
Who Makes Propylthiouracil?Generic versions of this medication are made by West-Ward Pharmaceutical Corp., and Actavis. There are no brand-name propylthiouracil products available in the United States.
How Does It Work?Propylthiouracil works by inhibiting the production of thyroid hormones in the thyroid. This medicine prevents the oxidation of iodine, an important step in the production of thyroid hormones. It also blocks the conversion of the less active form of thyroid hormone to the more active form.
When and How to Take PropylthiouracilSome general considerations to keep in mind when taking this medication include the following:
- Propylthiouracil comes in tablet form. It is usually taken three times daily.
- You can take it with or without food.
- For the medicine to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.