Newswise — Kenneth D. Burman, MD, chief of the Endocrine Section at the Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC and professor in the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University, will outline the risks and benefits of anti-thyroid drugs Sunday September 27 at 9 a.m. when he speaks at the American Thyroid Association’s (ATA) 80th Annual Meeting September 23-27, 2009 at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

Dr. Burman will examine the mechanisms of action, clinical use and potential adverse effects of anti-thyroid drugs as well as make several recommendations. Anti-thyroid drugs are utilized to treat hyperthyroidism, which frequently occurs due to Graves’ disease.

“Methimazole and Propylthiouracil (PTU) are the two most potent anti-thyroid drugs used in the U.S.,” explains Dr. Burman. “Their primary effect is to inhibit thyroid hormone synthesis. These agents are effective in lowering thyroid function tests but potential serious adverse effects include low white cell count, liver toxicity and liver failure.”

Recent discussion has focused on the liver issues which seem to be more common with PTU as compared to methimazole. Patients receiving PTU should be closely monitored for symptoms and signs of liver injury, especially during the first six months after initiation of therapy.

The FDA has recommended (June 2009) that, in general, PTU should be considered a second-line drug therapy except in patients who are pregnant, allergic to or intolerant of methimazole. During pregnancy, methimazole, but not PTU, has been associated with a rare congenital defect, aplasia cutis, and, therefore, PTU may be more appropriate for patients with Graves’ disease who are in their first trimester of pregnancy.

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the lead organization in promoting thyroid health and understanding thyroid biology. The ATA values scientific inquiry, clinical excellence, public service, education, collaboration, and collegiality.

A non-profit medical society founded in 1923, the ATA fulfills its mission through supporting excellence and innovation in research, clinical care, education, and public health. ATA members are physicians and scientists who work to enhance the understanding of thyroid physiology and pathophysiology, improve the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid diseases, and promote the education of physicians, patients, and the public about thyroid disorders. The official journal “Thyroid” of the ATA is published monthly. “Clinical Thyroidology” is published online monthly for the benefit of clinicians and scientists around the world.

Thyroid diseases are among the most common disorders of the endocrine system, affecting almost 13 million Americans alone. The ATA has extensive online information for patients on thyroid disease (in English and Spanish) serving the clinician as a resource for patients and the public who look for reliable information on the internet. To further benefit patients, the ATA publishes an online journal “Clinical Thyroidology for Patients.” The Alliance for Patient Education was formed in 2002 to offer an exchange of information between the ATA and patient education groups: ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.; the Light of Life Foundation, and the Graves’ Disease Foundation. A public forum is held each year in conjunction with the ATA annual meeting.

The 80th Annual Meeting of the ATA will be in Palm Beach, Florida, from September 23-27, 2009 at The Breakers Hotel. All registration and program information is available at We welcome your participation.

ATA 6066 Leesburg Pike, Suite 550, Falls Church, VA 22041 * (703) 998-8890 (Fax) (703) 998-8893 *

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American Thyroid Association 80th Annual Meeting