A formal guidance on potassium iodide’s use as a thyroid-blocking agent in radiation emergencies was published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2001. (PDF – 40 KB).
The purpose of the document is to offer advice to state and local governments, as well as other Federal organisations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), regarding the safe and efficient use of potassium iodide (KI) as a supplement to other public health preventive actions in the event that radioactive iodine is discharged into the environment.
The state and municipal governments in charge of creating regional emergency response plans for radiation situations have the power to adopt and implement the suggestions.
FAQs About Potassium Iodide (KI)
1. What is the function of potassium iodide (KI)?
It is widely known that KI is a reliable thyroid radioiodine uptake selective blocker. In people or communities who are at risk for inhaling or ingesting radioiodines, KI is beneficial in lowering the risk of thyroid cancer when given in the appropriate amount. The radioactive molecules are prevented from entering the thyroid by KI and are instead eliminated in the urine as a result.
2. Can radiation from weapons other than radioactive iodine, such as radiation from a dirty bomb, be protected from using potassium iodide (KI)?
The only function of potassium iodide (KI) is to stop radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid gland. It is not an all-purpose radioprotective substance.
3. After a nuclear radiation release, who actually has to take potassium iodide (KI)?
Age is the main determinant of thyroid cancer risk, and the FDA advice gives priority to groups based on age. Because KI has the ability to suppress thyroid function in the developing foetus and the newborn, babies and children, as well as pregnant and nursing women, are those most at risk. The suggestion is to handle them at the lowest standard (with respect to predicted radioactive dose to the thyroid). Anyone who is at least 18 years old and up to 40 years old should be given special consideration. Finally, KI should only be administered to patients older than 40 if the anticipated dose is sufficiently high.
4. How long should I continue taking potassium iodide (KI)?
Since KI offers protection for roughly 24 hours, it should be taken every day until the risk is eliminated. Pregnant women and newborns should be prioritised for evacuation and sheltering due to the possibility that KI could decrease thyroid function in the foetus and newborn. We do not advise repeat dosing in pregnant women or newborns unless no other preventative measures are available.
5. When ought I take potassium iodide (KI)?
Before exposure to radiation, KI should not be taken as a preventive. Local public health or emergency management officials will inform the public if KI or other protective measures are required following a radiological or nuclear event in the United States. You should abide by the instructions provided to you by these local authorities once an occurrence occurs in the US. A higher dose or more frequent use of KI than is advised does not provide additional protection and may result in serious sickness or death.
6. Who should use potassium iodide (KI) with caution or not at all?
Anyone with dermatitis herpetiformis and hypocomplementemic vasculitis, two exceedingly rare disorders linked to an elevated risk of iodinea hypersensitivity, should also refrain from taking KI. The presence of an iodine allergy or hypersensitivity does not always accompany a seafood or shellfish allergy. It is not advised for those with nodular thyroid disease to take KI.