Propylthiouracil: Uses & Side Effects

Propylthiouracil is used to treat hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), Graves’ disease, or toxic goiter (enlarged thyroid). Propylthiouracil is sometimes given to control symptoms just before you undergo thyroid surgery or treatment with radioactive iodine.

Propylthiouracil is for use only if your condition cannot be treated with another thyroid medication, or when surgery or radioactive iodine are not good treatment options.

How should I take propylthiouracil?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Propylthiouracil is usually taken 3 times per day.

You will need frequent blood tests to check your thyroid function.

Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, sore throat).

If you need surgery, tell your surgeon you currently use propylthiouracil.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Precautions

You should not use propylthiouracil if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had liver problems.

Do not use propylthiouracil if you are pregnant, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Propylthiouracil can harm an unborn baby, or cause serious liver problems or death of the baby or the mother. You may need to use another medication during late pregnancy.

It may not be safe to breast-feed while using propylthiouracil. Ask your doctor about any risk.

In most cases, propylthiouracil should not be used by anyone younger than 18 years old. Do not give propylthiouracil to a child without your doctor’s advice.

Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Propylthiouracil can cause liver damage (especially during the first 6 months of treatment). Liver failure can be fatal or may require a liver transplant. Stop taking propylthiouracil and call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver damage:

  • nausea, vomiting, upper stomach pain;
  • itching;
  • fever, tiredness;
  • loss of appetite;
  • dark urine, clay-colored stools; or
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • Also call your doctor at once if you have:
  • fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, feeling light-headed;
  • unusual bleeding;
  • purple or red discoloration of your skin;
  • skin rash, skin pain or swelling;
  • pink or dark urine, foamy urine, little or no urination;
  • shortness of breath, or if you cough up blood;
  • new or worsening symptoms of lupus–joint pain, and a skin rash on your cheeks or arms that worsens in sunlight.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
  • itching or tingling;
  • joint or muscle pain;
  • swollen glands;
  • headache, drowsiness, dizziness;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • decreased sense of taste;
  • hair loss.

Interactions

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

  • digoxin (digitalis);
  • theophylline;
  • heart or blood pressure medication; or
  • a blood thinner–warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Keywords: propylthiouracil; hyperthyroidism; Graves’ disease; toxic goiter.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.