The aim of this study was to determine the optimal management of patients with propylthiouracil (PTU) hepatotoxicity. A MEDLINE search for English language cases of PTU hepatotoxicity between 1966 and April 1996 was performed, and additional cases were cross-referenced. Twenty-seven cases were selected based on the availability of information on patient management after the onset of hepatotoxicity. Eighty-five percent of the selected cases met this criterion. A detailed summary of the management of two cases of PTU hepatotoxicity at our institutions is also provided. Although most patients recovered once PTU was stopped, seven patients died. Patients with PTU hepatotoxicity who survived were more likely to have received 131I during the course of their illness than those who died (P < 0.03, by Fisher's exact test). In our two patients, hyperbilirubinemia was linearly associated with progressively decreasing T4 levels (r = 0.91; P < 0.001) despite the presence of clinical thyrotoxicosis in one of the patients. These findings demonstrate the need for appropriate clinical evaluation and treatment of thyroid disease during the course of hepatotoxicity. Additionally, we report the first pediatric patient with PTU hepatotoxicity to undergo liver transplantation. The emerging role of liver transplantation in these patients is discussed.