In the last few years a great deal of progress has been made in elucidating the physiology of the thyroid gland and in establishing some of the relationships of its function to the pituitary gland and the body cells. As a result of this progress thyrotoxicosis is treated with greater effectiveness. The drugs which have been of greatest aid are iodine, cyanides, thiocyanates, sulfonamide compounds and thioureas. Since these substances inhibit the function of the thyroid gland, they are spoken of as antithyroid drugs. This is true in spite of the fact that they may increase the work of the gland, as evidenced by the marked hyperplasia and hypertrophy which they produce in the thyroid.
The effectiveness of iodine in the treatment of goiter was described more than a hundred years ago by Coindet.1 Nevertheless, its popularization in the treatment of toxic goiter was brought about by Plummer
WILLIAMS RH. ANTITHYROID DRUGS, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THIOURACIL. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1944;74(6):479–487. doi:10.1001/archinte.1944.00210240069008
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