In a Nuclear Emergency when do you start taking Potassium Iodide.

When to start taking potassium iodide is a serious question?  The US government has told us not too, at this time and I think under the current situation this is correct.  However the thing that bothers me is that when a situation occurs that requires it, will the government tell us the truth, and will the pills be available.  This morning I read an article where they are just starting to distribute them to the State Department workers in Japan. Potassium iodide has not been widely distributed in Japan, and the Japanese government has made attempts to cover up the seriousness of the problem.

Milk and other foods

The Japanese government is just starting to warn people about radiation in milk and fresh foods.  Milk is one food that is always a big concern for radioactive iodine.  It pays to have powdered milk in your storage.  The following links show how the problem is just starting to reveal itself.

potassium iodideState Department Gives Anti-Radiation Meds to Employees in Japan

Japan faces fresh food scare.

I will be truthful, I don’t know the answer to the above question myself.  When the time comes I will have to make a somewhat educated guess, based on the information that is available to me.  However the one thing I can do is have the medication on hand, that way I will not be dependent on the government to deliver it to me.

The following article lists the three FDA approved medications for radiation.  I am not a doctor and would not tell anyone else when to begin taking them.  You should get the advice of a Doctor prior to taking them.

Questions about Medical Products

Hypothetically, if they were needed, what are the FDA-approved products for radiation exposure?

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:potassium iodide

When administered in the recommended dose, KI is effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals or populations 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, which are subsequently excreted in the urine. Potassium iodide works only to prevent the thyroid from uptaking radioactive iodine. It is not a general radioprotective agent.

There are three FDA-approved potassium iodide drugs marketed as over the counter products. They are: Iosat Tablets (130 mg), manufactured by Anbex, Inc.; ThyroSafe Tablets (65 mg), manufactured by Recipharm and ThyroShield Solution (65 mg/mL), manufactured by Fleming & Company Pharmaceuticals.

Is potassium iodide the only medication available for radiation exposure?

Potassium iodide is the only FDA-approved medication available for exposure to 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.


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