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April 14, 1975

Medical News

JAMA. 1975;232(2):121-131. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250020001001

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Antithyroid drug shows promise against alcoholic hepatitis in rats  A group of Toronto scientists have begun clinical trials to test the efficacy of the antithyroid drug propylthiouracil in the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis and the possible prevention of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.If the trials are as successful as animal studies have been, the scientists (from the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario and the Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto) anticipate sharp reductions in the death rates that usually accompany hepatitis and liver cirrhosis due to alcoholism.A pivotal factor in the studies is the ability of propylthiouracil to modify the hypermetabolic state of an alcoholic patient's liver. This hypermetabolism has been shown to induce hypoxia, causing a cellular degeneration leading to alcoholic hepatitis. Many of these cases in man result in cirrhosis.An interruption of this sequence, says principal investigator Yedy Israel, PhD, an Addiction Research Foundation