What does potassium iodide (KI) do?
The effectiveness of KI as a specific blocker of thyroid radioiodine uptake is well established. 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 radioiodines. KI floods the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine and prevents the uptake of the radioactive molecules, which are subsequently excreted in the urine.
Can potassium iodide (KI) be used to protect against radiation from bombs other than radioactive iodine?
Potassium iodide ( KI) works only to prevent the thyroid from uptaking radioactive iodine. It is not a general radioprotective agent.
Who really needs to take potassium iodide (KI) after a nuclear radiation release?
The FDA guidance prioritizes groups based on age, which primarily determines risk for radioiodine-induced thyroid cancer. Those at highest risk are infants and children, and the recommendation is to treat them at the lowest threshold (with respect to predicted radioactive dose to the thyroid).This high-risk group also includes pregnant and nursing females. Those over age 18 and up to age 40 should be treated at a slightly higher threshold, and those over 40 should be treated with KI only if the predicted exposure is high enough to destroy the thyroid and induce lifelong hypothyroidism (thyroid deficiency).
Should I check with my doctor first?
Potassium iodide (KI) is available over-the-counter (OTC). However, if you have any health concerns or questions, you should check with your doctor.