Journal of Korean Endocrine Society 2000;15(4-5):554-560.
Published online January 1, 2001.
Hepatic Injury during Treatment with Antithyroid Drugs in Patients with Hyperthyroidism.
Ki Young Lee, Yun Jeong Lee, Soon Hong Hong, Sung Kwoen Jung, Hwa Eun Lee, Chan Jong Seo, Yon Sil Jung, Sung Kwang Lee, Hong Kyu Kim, Hye Young Park, Moon Ho Kang
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Gachon Medical School Gil Medical Center, Inchon, Korea.
Propylthiouracil (PIV) and methimazole (MMI) were widely used for the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Hepatic injury caused by these agents is a rare but serious complication. This study is to investigate the clinical features of hepatotoxicity from antithyroid drugs. METHODS: We reviewed 17 cases of hepatic injury during treatment with antithyroid drugs in patients with hyperthyroidism. Included were 6 cases we experienced and 11 cases reported in Korean literature from 1986 to 1999. We analyzed the clinical features of hepatic injury. RESULTS: Of 17 cases of hepatic injury, 12 were PTU cases and 5 MMI cases. The mean age of PTU cases was 40 years with 6/12 patients over 40 years old and 2/5 MMI cases were over 40 years old. The dose of PTU was 300 mg/d or more in 10/12 cases (83%) and the dose of MMI was 30 mg/d in 3/5 cases (60%). The hepatic injury occurred within 3 months in 8/12 PTU cases (67%) and within 2 months in 4/5 MMI cases (80%). The duration of hepatic injury tended to be longer in MMI cases than in PTV cases (median; 80 vs 41 days, p=0.102). In PTU cases, the duration of hepatic injury was correlated with the duration of drug use before hepatic injury (p<0.05). All of 8 biopsied cases who took PTU had predominantly hepatocellular necrosis. Two biopsied cases who took MMI had cholestatic jaundice and nonspecific abnormality, respectively. Biochemical findings of all MMI cases were compatible with cholestatic jaundice. As to the treatment of hyperthyroidism after hepatic injury, 4/12 PTU cases were treated with RAI therapy, 5 with MMI and one with surgery, and treatment was unknown in two. On the other hand 3/5 MMI cases interestingly entered into spontaneous remission after hepatic injury and 2/5 had RAI therapy. Hepatic dysfunction recurred in each one whom treatment by changing to MMI or PTU was tried on. CONCLUSION: Most of hepatic injury during treatment with antithyroid drugs developed within two to three months of drug use. The hepatic injury related to PTU was mainly cytotoxic whereas that related to MMI was cholestatic. Since there is a cross-reaction between PTU and MMI in hepatotoxicity, RAI therapy or operation shoud be considered as an alternative treatment of hyperthyroidism after hepatic injury.
Key Words: Antithyroid drugs, Propylthiouracil, Methimazole, Hepatic injury, Hyperthroidism

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