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Monday, April 25, 2011


The earthquake, Tsunami and the nuclear reactor explosion raised many questions in the mind of common people. The news about nuclear contamination to sea water and the surroundings in certain areas of Japan triggered panic among regular customers of imported Japanese food especially seafood. Scientists and experts say that due to the great quantity of water in the Pacific Ocean, radioactive material that may dispersed in water will get diluted quickly and seafood are likely to be unaffected.

MEDICINE NUCLEAR CONTAMINATION I recently got an email asking about the products that are available in the market that can treat a possible internal contamination of radionuclide material. I believe to depend of FDA approved stuff, so stating details about such drugs and products. After the nuclear incident in Japan, the demand for drugs used to prevent and treat harmful effects caused by radiation exposure or contamination with radioactive materials have increased. But after referring many websites, I suggest that there is no need to panic in countries other than Japan.

As they say in the FDA website, there are three FDA-approved potassium iodide (KI) products for use as an adjunct to other public health protective measures in the event that radioactive iodine is released into the environment. The three over-the-counter products are:

  • Iosat Tablets (130 mg), Anbex, Inc., Williamsburg, Va.,
  • ThyroSafe Tablets (65 mg), Recipharm AB, Jordbro, Sweden,
  • ThyroShield Solution (65 mg/mL), Fleming & Company Pharmaceuticals, Fenton, Mo.

When administered at the recommended dose, KI is effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in people at risk for inhalation or ingestion of radioactive iodine. KI floods the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine and prevents the uptake of the radioactive molecules. Potassium iodide works only to prevent the thyroid from uptaking radioactive iodine. It is not a general radioprotective agent.

Potassium iodide is the only FDA-approved medication available to treat contamination with radioactive iodine. There are FDA-approved products available that increase the rate of elimination of other radioactive elements. They include:

  • Calcium-DTPA and Zinc DTPA, Hameln Pharmaceuticals. Approved to treat known or suspected internal contamination with plutonium, americium, or curium to increase the rates of elimination.
  • Radiogardase (Prussian blue insoluble capsules), HEYL Chemisch-Pharmazeutische Fabrik GmbH & Co. KG. Approved to treat known or suspected internal contamination with radioactive cesium and/or radioactive or non-radioactive thallium to increase their rates of elimination.

The FDA is alerting consumers to be wary of internet sites and other retail outlets promoting products making false claims to prevent or treat effects of radiation or products that are not FDA-approved. These fraudulent products come in all varieties and could include dietary supplements, food items, or products purporting to be drugs, devices or vaccines.

Consumers should be wary of the following:

  • claims that a product not approved by FDA can prevent or treat the harmful effects of radiation exposure;
  • suggestions that a potassium iodide product will treat conditions other than those for which it is approved, i.e., KI floods the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine and prevents the uptake of the radioactive molecules, which are subsequently excreted in the urine;
  • promotions using words such as “scientific breakthrough,” “new products,” “miraculous cure,” ”secret ingredient,” and ”ancient remedy”;
  • testimonials by consumers or doctors claiming amazing results;
  • limited availability and advance payment requirements;
  • promises of no-risk, money-back guarantees;
  • promises of an “easy” fix; and,
  • claims that the product is “natural” or has fewer side effects than approved drugs.
  • claims that kelp, seaweed, and other food products contain enough iodine to protect against radioactive iodine. These products contain very little iodine when compared to the approved drug products. There are no foods or dietary supplements approved by FDA for protection against radioactive iodine

Don't be fooled by professional-looking Web sites. Avoid Web sites that fail to list the company's name, physical address, phone number, or other contact information. For more tips for online buying, visit Buying Medicines and Medical Products Online. To determine if a particular drug is FDA approved, check The Orange Book or Drugs@FDA.

Consumers and health care professionals are encouraged to report adverse side effects or medication errors from the use of both approved and unapproved radiation exposure products to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program at or by calling 800-332-1088.

Source: FDA

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