Brand Name(s): Tapazole, Northyx
Drug Class: Antithyroid agents
Treats: hyperthyroidism, Grave's disease
Methimazole is a drug available only by prescription and is indicated for treatment of hyperthyroidism. It is in a class of drugs known as antithyroid agents. Methimazole may also be used before a thyroid surgical procedure is performed or prior to having a radioactive iodine treatment. It works by reducing the ability of the body to make thyroid hormone.
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Doctors prescribe methimazole to patients with hyperthyroidism. In patients who have hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormone. Methimazole is also used to prepare an overactive thyroid gland for surgery. When used before surgery, it helps lower the level of thyroid hormone and reduce the effects of thyroid manipulation. If a doctor has advised against removing the thyroid gland, methimazole may be used before a radioactive iodine treatment is conducted. Methimazole inhibits the production of the hormone thyroid, which is produced and released by the thyroid gland. This hormone regulates the metabolism activity in the body. Methimazole is also used to treat Grave's diseases, a common cause of hyperthyroidism.
Methimazole is available in tablet form and taken by mouth. The dosage prescribed depends on medical conditions as well as response to treatment. In children, dosage may depend on weight. A patient should take methimazole as prescribed by a doctor. You should not increase the dosage or take it for an extended period and more often than has been prescribed. Below you will find a typical dosage of methimazole.
- For mild hyperthyroidism treatment, the initial dose of 5 mg is taken orally in every 8 hours while, for moderate hyperthyroidism, the dose is 10 mg taken every 8 hours. In severe hyperthyroidism, 20 mg of methimazole is taken in every 8 hours.
- In children being treated for hyperthyroidism, an initial dose of 0.4 mg/kg is taken orally, divided into three equal doses, separated 8 hours each.
Methimazole Side Effects
Side effects can develop when patients are taking methimazole. Some of these may be mild and not needing a patient to seek attention of a medical doctor. But if the mild and less serious effects become intolerable or they keep on recurring, one should see a doctor. Serious side effects might also develop in patients. If you develop serious side effects, immediately call a doctor. Below you will find the side effects associated with methimazole. Note that not all possible side effects are listed here.
- Skin rash
- Upset stomach
- Abnormal hair loss
- Decreased white blood cells
- Abnormal sensations such as burning, pulling, tightness, tingling, and prickling
- Reduced platelets
Serious side effects likely to develop when one is taking methimazole are;
- Sore throat
- Skin eruption
- Unusual bleeding
- Abdominal pain on the right side
- Decreased appetite
Like any drug, methimazole may interact with other drugs and substances. If you take other drugs and products in combination, the effects of some medicines may change. This may increase the seriousness of side effects likely to occur. It may also make the medicines not to work properly. Although drug-drug interactions are possible, with some combinations, they may not occur. Doctors may at times, administer more than one drug even if it is known that interactions occur. But this is done if doctors have evaluated the possible adverse reactions and the expected benefits to be derived from the combinations. Tell your doctor if you have any medicines you have been prescribed or bought over the counter before you take methimazole. These drugs can interact with methimazole, but it is not a complete list.