Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Carbimazole

Carbimazole is prescribed for the treatment of hyperthyroidism, better known as an overactive thyroid.

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Carbimazole is the active ingredient of neo-mercazole.

General Information

Carbimazole is prescribed for the treatment of hyperthyroidism, better known as an overactive thyroid. It suppresses the formation or thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland when the human body produces excessive amounts.

How does carbimazole work?

The chemical iodine is essential for the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Before the iodine can be used it needs to be converted to a usable form - This is where carbamazepine steps in. It prevents iodine from being converted to its usable form. Less thyroid hormone can thus be manufactured as a result.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3

Available as: carbimazole is available as tablets

What does it do? carbimazole is lowers the function of an overactive thyroid gland.

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is Carbimazole available as a generic? no

Is Carbimazole available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: Full benefit may be seen within 2-10 weeks

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours

Dietary advice: Avoid foods rich in iodine. This includes fish such as cod and mackerel. It should be taken with or after food.

Stopping this medicine: Do not stop using this medication without speaking to your doctor first as symptoms may recur.

Prolonged use: Long-term use may present with serious symptoms such as bone marrow disease. It is advised to report the development of a persistent sore throat or fever to your doctor. Periodic blood and thyroid function tests may be requested by your doctor.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have liver or kidney disease
  • you have an obstruction in your trachea
  • You are taking other medication

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant

Breastfeeding: This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: This medication is safe to use.

Infants and children: Carbimazole is not registered for use in children in South Africa.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: This medication should be avoided as it may cause extreme drowsiness.

Alcohol: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Headache

x

x

Skin rash/ itching

x

x

Diarrhoea/ constipation

x

x

Nausea/vomiting

x

x

Abdominal pain

x

x

Pain in the muscles/ joints

x

x

Yellowing of the skin and eyes

x

x

Hair loss

x

x

Sore throat/ sores in mouth

x

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

corticosteroids

The effects of corticosteroids may be reduced

digoxin

The dose of digoxin may need adjustment

theophylline

Increased risk of theophylline toxicity

Food interactions

Avoid foods rich in iodine. This includes fish such as cod and mackerel.

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have liver or kidney disease.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In the case of a large intentional overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and headache.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 5-60mg once day

Children: carbimazole is not registered for use in children.

If used the following doses have been suggested:

0-1 years: 0.75 mg/kg/day in divided doses

1-4 years: 7.5mg/day in divided doses

4-12 years: 15mg/day in divided doses

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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