Potassium iodide is a chemical compound, medication, and dietary supplement. As a medication it is used to treat hyperthyroidism, in radiation emergencies, and to protect the thyroid gland when certain types of radiopharmaceuticals are used. Potassium Iodate tablets are used at the time of a nuclear emergency; the tablets stop the thyroid gland (situated in your neck) taking up radioactive iodine, which may be released into the environment following a nuclear accident. Radioactive Iodine is harmful and especially dangerous to babies and children.
This medication known as an expectorant. Potassium iodide is also used along with antithyroid medicines to prepare the thyroid gland for surgical removal, to treat certain overactive thyroid conditions (hyperthyroidism), and to protect the thyroid in a radiation exposure emergency.
KI (potassium iodide) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine that can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, thus protecting this gland from radiation injury.
The thyroid gland is the part of the body that is most sensitive to radioactive iodine.
People should take KI (potassium iodide) only on the advice of public health or emergency management officials. There are health risks associated with taking KI.
KI (potassium iodide) does not keep radioactive iodine from entering the body and cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once the thyroid is damaged.
- KI (potassium iodide) only protects the thyroid, not other parts of the body, from radioactive iodine.
KI (potassium iodide) cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine—if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective and could cause harm.
Table salt and foods rich in iodine do not contain enough iodine to block radioactive iodine from getting into your thyroid gland. Do not use table salt or food as a substitute for KI.
Do not use dietary supplements that contain iodine in the place of KI (potassium iodide). They can be harmful and non-efficacious. Only use products that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Who can take KI (potassium iodide)?
The thyroid glands of a fetus and of an infant are most at risk of injury from radioactive iodine. Young children and people with low amounts of iodine in their thyroid are also at risk of thyroid injury.
Infants (including breast-fed infants)
Infants have the highest risk of getting thyroid cancer after being exposed to radioactive iodine. All infants, including breast-fed infants need to be given the dosage of KI (potassium iodide) recommended for infants.
- Infants (particularly newborns) should receive a single dose of KI. More than a single dose may lead to later problems with normal development. Other protective measures should be used.
- In cases where more than one dose is necessary, medical follow up may be necessary.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that all children internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take KI (potassium iodide), unless they have known allergies to iodine (contraindications).
The FDA recommends that young adults (between the ages of 18 and 40 years) internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take the recommended dose of KI (potassium iodide). Young adults are less sensitive to the effects of radioactive iodine than are children.
Because all forms of iodine cross the placenta, pregnant women should take KI (potassium iodide) to protect the growing fetus. Pregnant women should take only one dose of KI following internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine.
Women who are breastfeeding should take only one dose of KI (potassium iodide) if they have been internally contaminated with (or are likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine. They should be prioritized to receive other protective action measures.
Adults older than 40 years should not take KI (potassium iodide) unless public health or emergency management officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected.
- Adults older than 40 years have the lowest chance of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after contamination with radioactive iodine.
- Adults older than 40 are more likely to have allergic reactions to or adverse effects from KI.
How does KI (potassium iodide) work?
The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine. It will absorb both.
KI (potassium iodide) blocks radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid. When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. Because KI contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine—either stable or radioactive—for the next 24 hours.
KI (potassium iodide) may not give a person 100% protection against radioactive iodine. Protection will increase depending on three factors.
- Time after contamination: The sooner a person takes KI, the more time the thyroid will have to “fill up” with stable iodine.
- Absorption: The amount of stable iodine that gets to the thyroid depends on how fast KI is absorbed into the blood.
- Dose of radioactive iodine: Minimizing the total amount of radioactive iodine a person is exposed to will lower the amount of harmful radioactive iodine the thyroid can absorb.
WiseLifeNaturals gave this question to our lab and developed, ThyroGuardian™ as a highly bio-available protective support for the thyroid gland. The thyroid is at risk of absorbing “look alike” iodines that are actually cancer causing Radioactive Iodines. ThyroGuardian essentially fills up the Thyroid with healthy normal Iodine and acts to block radiation poisoning. ThyroGuardian has many other off label applications as well.*
In a radiation emergency, potassium iodide blocks only the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine, protecting it from damage and reducing the risk of thyroid cancer.*
Potassium Iodide (Ki): Certain forms of iodine help your thyroid gland work right. Ideally, people get the iodine they need from foods like iodized salt or fish.
Unfortunately, common chemicals we are daily exposed to like Flourides and Chlorines actually leach iodine from the body and thyroid gland. The thyroid can “store” or hold only a certain amount of iodine. In a radiation emergency, radioactive iodine may be released in the environment. This material may be breathed or swallowed. It may enter the thyroid gland and damage it. The damage would probably not show itself for years. Children are most likely to have thyroid damage. If you take potassium iodide, it will fill up your thyroid gland. This reduces the chance that harmful radioactive iodine will enter the thyroid gland.*
Sodium CMC: Purpose: Excipient Vehicle for Bio-Availability of Potassium Iodide (pharmacologically inactive substance) Croscarmellose sodium, or sodium CMC, is a cross-linked polymer of carboxymethylcellulose sodium. It appears as white, fibrous, free-flowing powder, and is used as an FDA-approved disintegrant in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Disintegrants facilitate the breakup of a tablet in the intestinal tract after oral administration. Cross-linking allows enhanced bioavailability of the drug through superior drug dissolution. Without a disintegrant, tablets may not dissolve appropriately and may effect the amount of active ingredient absorbed, thereby decreasing effectiveness.
For patients taking this medicine for radiation exposure risk:
In a radiation emergency, potassium iodide blocks only the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine, protecting it from damage and reducing the risk of thyroid cancer. Use this medication along with other emergency measures that will be recommended to you by public health and safety officials (e.g., finding safe shelter, evacuation, controlling food supply).
• Take this medicine daily until the risk of significant exposure to radiation no longer exists. Do not take more of it and do not take it more often than directed. Taking more of the medicine will not protect you better and may result in a greater chance of side effects.
If potassium iodide upsets your stomach, take it after meals or with food or milk unless otherwise directed by your doctor. If stomach upset (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea) continues, check with your doctor.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
THYRO GUARDIAN tablet dosage form:
To protect the thyroid gland against radiation exposure:
▪ Adults or teenagers approaching adult weight (70 kg or 154 lbs of body weight)—130 mg once a day, until significant risk of exposure to radioiodines no longer exists.
▪ Children through 1 month of age—16 mg once a day, until significant risk of exposure to radioiodines no longer exists.
▪ Children over 1 month through 3 years of age—32 mg once a day, until significant risk of exposure to radioiodines no longer exists.
▪ Children and teenagers over 3 years through 18 years of age (less than 70 kg or 154 lbs of body weight)—65 mg once a day, until significant risk of exposure to radioiodines no longer exists.