Methimazole

METHIMAZOLE- methimazole tablet
American Health Packaging

DESCRIPTION

Methimazole (1-methylimidazole-2-thiol) is a white, crystalline substance that is freely soluble in water. It differs chemically from the drugs of the thiouracil series primarily because it has a 5- instead of a 6-membered ring.

Methimazole tablet, USP contains 5 or 10 mg (43.8 or 87.6 μmol) methimazole, an orally administered antithyroid drug.

Each tablet also contains lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, corn starch, and talc.

The molecular weight is 114.17, and the molecular formula is C 4 H 6 N 2 S. The structural formula is as follows:

Structural FormulaStructural Formula

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Methimazole inhibits the synthesis of thyroid hormones and thus is effective in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. The drug does not inactivate existing thyroxine and triiodothyronine that are stored in the thyroid or circulating in the blood nor does it interfere with the effectiveness of thyroid hormones given by mouth or by injection.

Methimazole is readily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, metabolized in the liver, and excreted in the urine.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Methimazole tablets are indicated:

  • In patients with Graves’ disease with hyperthyroidism or toxic multinodular goiter for whom surgery or radioactive iodine therapy is not an appropriate treatment option.
  • To ameliorate symptoms of hyperthyroidism in preparation for thyroidectomy or radioactive iodine therapy.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Methimazole tablets are contraindicated in the presence of hypersensitivity to the drug or any of the other product components.

WARNINGS

First Trimester Use of Methimazole and Congenital Malformations

Methimazole crosses the placental membranes and can cause fetal harm, when administered in the first trimester of pregnancy. Rare instances of congenital defects, including aplasia cutis, craniofacial malformations (facial dysmorphism; choanal atresia), gastrointestinal malformations (esophageal atresia with or without tracheoesophageal fistula), omphalocele and abnormalities of the omphalomesenteric duct have occurred in infants born to mothers who received methimazole tablets in the first trimester of pregnancy. If methimazole tablets are used during pregnancy or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be warned of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Because of the risk for congenital malformations associated with use of methimazole tablets in the first trimester of pregnancy, it may be appropriate to use other agents in pregnant women requiring treatment for hyperthyroidism. If methimazole tablets are used, the lowest possible dose to control the maternal disease should be given.

Agranulocytosis

Agranulocytosis is potentially a life-threatening adverse reaction of methimazole therapy. Patients should be instructed to immediately report to their physicians any symptoms suggestive of agranulocytosis, such as fever or sore throat. Leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and aplastic anemia (pancytopenia) may also occur. The drug should be discontinued in the presence of agranulocytosis, or aplastic anemia (pancytopenia), and the patient’s bone marrow indices should be monitored.

Liver Toxicity

Although there have been reports of hepatotoxicity (including acute liver failure) associated with methimazole, the risk of hepatotoxicity appears to be less with methimazole than with propylthiouracil, especially in the pediatric population. Symptoms suggestive of hepatic dysfunction (anorexia, pruritis, right upper quadrant pain, etc.) should prompt evaluation of liver function (bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase) and hepatocellular integrity (ALT, AST). Drug treatment should be discontinued promptly in the event of clinically significant evidence of liver abnormality including hepatic transaminase values exceeding 3 times the upper limit of normal.

Hypothyroidism

Methimazole can cause hypothyroidism necessitating routine monitoring of TSH and free T4 levels with adjustments in dosing to maintain a euthyroid state. Because the drug readily crosses placental membranes, methimazole can cause fetal goiter and cretinism when administered to a pregnant woman. For this reason, it is important that a sufficient, but not excessive, dose be given during pregnancy (see PRECAUTIONS, Pregnancy).

Vasculitis

Cases of vasculitis resulting in severe complications have been reported in patients receiving methimazole therapy. These cases of vasculitis include: leukocytoclastic cutaneous vasculitis, acute kidney injury and glomerulonephritis, alveolar/pulmonary hemorrhage, CNS vasculitis, and neuropathy. Most cases were associated with anti-neutrophilic cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA)-positive vasculitis. In some cases, vasculitis resolved/improved with drug discontinuation; however, more severe cases required treatment with additional measures including corticosteroids, immunosuppressant therapy, and plasmapheresis. If vasculitis is suspected, discontinue therapy and initiate appropriate intervention.

PRECAUTIONS

General

Patients who receive methimazole should be under close surveillance and should be cautioned to report immediately any evidence of illness, particularly sore throat, skin eruptions, fever, headache, or general malaise. In such cases, white-blood-cell and differential counts should be obtained to determine whether agranulocytosis has developed. Particular care should be exercised with patients who are receiving additional drugs known to cause agranulocytosis.

Information for Patients

Patients should be advised that if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant while taking an antithyroid drug, they should contact their physician immediately about their therapy.

Inform patients that cases of vasculitis resulting in severe complications have occurred with methimazole tablets. Inform patients to promptly report symptoms that may be associated with vasculitis including new rash, hematuria or decreased urine output, dyspnea or hemoptysis (see WARNINGS and ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Laboratory Tests

Because methimazole may cause hypoprothrombinemia and bleeding, prothrombin time should be monitored during therapy with the drug, especially before surgical procedures. Thyroid function tests should be monitored periodically during therapy. Once clinical evidence of hyperthyroidism has resolved, the finding of a rising serum TSH indicates that a lower maintenance dose of methimazole tablets should be employed.

Drug Interactions

Anticoagulants (oral)

Due to potential inhibition of vitamin K activity by methimazole, the activity of oral anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin) may be increased; additional monitoring of PT/INR should be considered, especially before surgical procedures.

ß-adrenergic blocking agents

Hyperthyroidism may cause an increased clearance of beta blockers with a high extraction ratio. A dose reduction of beta-adrenergic blockers may be needed when a hyperthyroid patient becomes euthyroid.

Digitalis glycosides

Serum digitalis levels may be increased when hyperthyroid patients on a stable digitalis glycoside regimen become euthyroid; a reduced dosage of digitalis glycosides may be needed.

Theophylline

Theophylline clearance may decrease when hyperthyroid patients on a stable theophylline regimen become euthyroid; a reduced dose of theophylline may be needed.

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