Keywords: radiation, iodide, KI, thyroid, iodine-131 (PubMed Search)
· In the event a nuclear power plant accident, people may be exposed to a mixture of radioactive products. The main radionuclides representing health risk are radioactive caesium and radioactive iodine.
· Iodine-131 is concentrated in the thyroid gland and may eventually lead to development of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.
· Radioiodine uptake by the thyroid can be blocked by taking potassium iodide (KI) pills or solution, preventing these effects.
· KI should not be taken in the absence of a clear risk of exposure to a potentially dangerous level of radioactive iodine because KI can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, salivary gland inflammation, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
· Since radioactive iodine decays rapidly, current estimates indicate there will not be a hazardous level of reaching the United States from this accident.
· There are three FDA approved KI products: Iosat, Thyrosafe and ThyroShield.
Pharmacist's Letter April 2011 Vol 27(4) 19-20.