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Propylthiouracil Levels in Hyperthyroid Patients Unresponsive to Large Doses: Evidence of Poor Patient Compliance

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to David S. Cooper, M.D.; Thyroid Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital; Boston, MA 02114.

Boston, Massachusetts

© 1985 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1985;102(3):328-331. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-102-3-328
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Nine patients with hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease did not respond to therapy with very large doses (800 to 2000 mg/d) of propylthiouracil. In eight patients, studies showed propylthiouracil was absorbed and metabolized normally. Five patients had no detectable propylthiouracil in their serum 2 to 3 hours after supposedly taking their medication at home, and three patients had markedly abnormal results of perchlorate discharge tests after receiving propylthiouracil under supervision. After evaluation, noncompliance was thought to be the reason for treatment failure in six of the nine patients; one patient was possibly resistant. In two patients, data were insufficient, although intermittent noncompliance could not be ruled out. Among patients who respond poorly to propylthiouracil therapy, noncompliance is the most likely reason. In such patients, methimazole should be substituted for continued massive doses of propylthiouracil.





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