International Academy of Alternative & Anti-Aging Medicine I.A.A.A.M.
218 Avenue B, Redondo Beach, California 90277

The following is an abbreviated summary - - A FACT SHEET ON POTASSIUM
IODIDE
- - from various sources, ranging from the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory
Commission), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and the Vermont Department
Of Health
(which our scientists found especially helpful, understandable, and down to
Earth).
We also recommend that you check out "Basic Preparedness" under "Defeating and
Understanding Terrorism," at www.antiagingforme.com - - - preparedness beyond the
multi-colored Chart.


What is potassium iodide?

Potassium iodide, also known as KI, is a form of iodine. Classified as a drug approved for over-the-counter sale, potassium iodide has been determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be a safe and effective method to block exposure to one product of a nuclear release — radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine, either inhaled or ingested through contaminated food or milk, can increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer. New treatment guidance from the FDA (November 2001) confirms that the benefits of potassium iodide far outweigh the rare risks of serious side effects. This is especially true for children, who are more likely than adults to develop thyroid cancer following exposure to radioactive iodine. FDA's new guidance is based on a comprehensive review of studies conducted after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in 1986.

How does potassium iodide protect against thyroid cancer?


Certain forms of iodine help your thyroid function properly. Most people get the iodine they need from foods like fish and iodized salt. The thyroid is designed to absorb and store iodine, but it can hold only so much, and will just as readily absorb non-radioactive potassium iodide as radioactive iodine. Because of this, one dose of potassium iodide, which is not harmful to the thyroid, works by filling the gland so it cannot take up any radioactive iodine.
For best protection, one dose of potassium iodide should be taken before or at the time of exposure, although it may still lower risk of thyroid cancer even if taken three or four hours following exposure.

Important:

    The protection offered by potassium iodide is very specific. It protects one organ (thyroid gland) from one type of radiation (radioactive iodine). Emergency directives such as evacuation, staying indoors, or restricting the use of contaminated food and milk are designed to minimize human exposure to all types of harmful radiation that could be released in a nuclear emergency.
Taking potassium iodide is no substitute for following emergency directives. In case of a nuclear emergency: Follow emergency directives. "Familiarize yourself with the free radical theory on aging and cancer. This theory, much supported by hundreds of scientific publications, states that many types of radiation, like the ones released in a nuclear emergency, cause the formation of free radicals that can greatly contribute to premature aging and cancer. All kinds of antioxidants, from vitamins E, C, A, to the trace mineral selenium, sulfur amino acids, glutathione, and some very potent newly discovered natural compounds like grape seed extract, others, can deactivate those radiation-induced free radicals, and therefore have a good chance to protect you against at least some radiation.
Also familiarize yourself with the niacin-based detox method.
This detox method uses large amounts (1 to 1.5 g) of niacin (careful, induces skin flushing) or non-flushing forms of niacin, taken before inducing sweating (exercise-, or sauna-induced) to rid the body of toxins. This method was quite helpful in detoxing people affected by the Russian Chernobyl accident.
What is the recommended dose?
You should not take potassium iodide unless you are directed to do so by public health officials in the event of a radiological emergency, and then only at dosages recommended by the FDA:

Risk Group Dose
(Milligrams)
# of 65 mg. Tablets
     
18 years & older 130 2
3 years through 18 years old; also pregnant or lactating women 65 1
1 month through 3 years old 32  
Birth through 1 month 16  

IMPORTANT: For details about administering potassium iodide to children, see the special instructions at the end of this fact sheet.

If you are told to take potassium iodide, you can take it one time every 24 hours until the risk of exposure has passed. Do not take it more often. More will not help you and may increase risk of side effects.

EXCEPTIONS: Pregnant or lactating women should not have a repeat dose. Pregnant women, lactating women, and newborns up to 1 month old who have taken potassium iodide should have medical follow-up.



Who should NOT take potassium iodide?
  • Do not take: If you are allergic to iodine.
  • Do not take: If you have dermatitis herpetiformis or hypocomplementemic vasculitis. (Both of these are extremely rare conditions, but could indicate hypersensitivity to iodine.)
  • You can take, but with caution: If you have multinodular goiter, Graves' disease, autoimmune thyroiditis, or if you are taking any thyroid medication, you should consult with your physician before participating in Vermont's distribution program.
  • You can take potassium iodide, but should have medical follow-up: If you are pregnant or could be pregnant or are breastfeeding you should have one dose only, and then get medical follow-up. Newborns up to 1 month old who received potassium iodide or whose mother took it should have medical follow-up to assure proper thyroid function.


Are there side effects to taking potassium iodide?

Short-term use of potassium iodide at the proper dosage is safe for most people. Side effects are generally mild (but note medical contraindications above). Possible side effects include gastrointestinal distress (up to 2 percent) and rash (approximately 1 percent in children and adults). Allergic reactions may be seen in adults with known iodine sensitivity.



How will I know when to take potassium iodide -- and when to stop?

If there is a serious emergency, you will be alerted by one or more of the following warning signals: weather-alert radio sounding a tone followed by a message; emergency management siren, lasting three to five minutes; broadcasts from loudspeakers on emergency vehicles; special announcements on local Emergency Alert System radio stations.

If you hear any of these signals, tune to the Emergency Alert System radio station immediately for directions on evacuating, sheltering, or taking potassium iodide.

You will be alerted by TDD message if you are hearing impaired and you have registered with your town's emergency management office
.
Do not delay evacuation or ignore any other emergency directive to locate your supply of potassium iodide. If you are evacuated, you will be directed to a reception center where there will also be a supply of potassium iodide for emergency distribution. When the danger of exposure has passed, you will be notified to stop taking potassium iodide via the same emergency alert system, or you will receive instruction at the reception center. In a situation where potassium iodide will be required for more than 24 hours, you will be supplied with what you need.



Where should I store my supply of potassium iodide? When does it expire?

As with any medication, keep your supply of potassium iodide out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature (59-86 degrees F). Keep the package dry and the foil packets intact. (Parents and guardians of infants and very young children should consult the special instructions at the end of this fact sheet.) The tablets have a five year shelf life. Check expiration date once a year.

Depending upon your situation, we suggest that you keep potassium iodide in a secure place in your home (the medicine cabinet), on your person, or at work. Schools and licensed day cares within the six towns adjacent to Vermont Yankee may also be prepared to dispense potassium iodide to children in an emergency, if you have given prior written consent. Each school and day care will work with state officials to develop emergency procedures regarding potassium iodide.

In case of an overdose or allergic reaction, call your physician or the Poison Control Center.



SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
Administering Potassium Iodide to Children

Two full 65-mg tablets is the normal dose for adults. Dividing tablets and preparing a child's smaller dose may be difficult in an emergency. We recommend that you practice the preparations, using a small, uncoated aspirin-type tablet.

Risk Group Dose (Milligrams) # of 65 mg. Tablets
     
18 years & older 130 2
3 years through 18 years old; also pregnant or lactating women 65 1
1 month through 3 years old 32  
Birth through 1 month 16  

Pregnant or lactating women should not have a repeat dose. Pregnant women, lactating women, and newborns up to 1 month old who have taken potassium iodide should have a medical follow-up.

For children age 3 through 18 and for pregnant or lactating women (one 65-mg tablet):
For most children, the appropriate dose is one 65 mg tablet. For people who only have 130-mg tablets available: On a firm, hard surface, using a sharp knife, cut the tablet in two. For the younger children in this age group who may not be able to swallow half a tablet, powder may be a better alternative. Put the half-tablet in a cereal bowl and, using the back of a teaspoon, crush the half-tablet to a fine powder. Add the powdered half-tablet to applesauce, pudding, water or milk. Stir or shake to make sure the powdered tablet mixes in thoroughly, and administer immediately. (In a liquid, the powder settles out in a minute or so. If this happens, mix again.)

For children over 1 month through 3 years old (one half of a 65-mg tablet):
For very young children, the dose is a half tablet. On a firm, hard surface, using a sharp knife, cut a 65-mg tablet into half. Put a half tablet in a cereal bowl and, using the back of a teaspoon, crush the half tablet into fine powder. Put the powdered half-tablet into a baby bottle, add a small amount of water or milk, shake thoroughly to make sure the powdered tablet mixes in, and administer the entire amount of fluid immediately. (Potassium iodide dissolves quickly in water or milk). For people who have only 130-mg tablets available: Use _ of one 130-mg tablet.

This process will take a few minutes, so you may want to store the dry, powdered quarter-tablet in a spare baby bottle, ready to go. In this case, you would just add liquid, shake and then administer. Another option is to mix the powdered quarter-tablet with a small amount of applesauce (about a quarter teaspoon) and feed it to the baby that way.
For infants up to one month old (one quarter of a 65-mg tablet):
For newborns, the dose is one-fourth of a 65-mg tablet. On a firm, hard surface, carefully crush the entire tablet to fine powder using the back of a teaspoon (be careful the spoon doesn't propel the tablet off the surface). Using a knife, divide the powder into four equal piles. Put the powdered fourth-tablet into a baby bottle, add formula or breast milk, shake thoroughly to make sure the powdered tablet mixes in, and give bottle to the baby immediately. As an alternative, you may take up the powdered fourth-tablet with the tip of a wet finger or the wet nipple of a pacifier, and let baby suck the powder off finger or pacifier. You also may mix it with a small amount (about a quarter teaspoon) of applesauce and feed it to the baby that way.

In any case, preparing the fourth tablet will take a few minutes, so you may wish to store the powdered one fourth tablet in a round plastic pill box (one that is about the size of a half-dollar and about a quarter-inch deep would work the best). For people who only have 130-mg tablets available: Use 1/8 of one tablet.

Another simple method for getting a fraction of a tablet: Crush one tablet. Stir into a pre-measured amount of warm water (between one or two ounces). The potassium iodide dissolves readily and quickly in water. Ignore any cloudiness in the water (this is from small amounts of inert binders in the tablet). Now divide the liquid into the fraction you need. Example: If you need _ of a 65-mg tablet, use one fourth of the solution you made from one 65-mg tablet.


A REMINDER: As with any medication, keep your supply of potassium iodide out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature (59-86 degrees F). The tablets have a five year shelf life. Check expiration date once a year.

Schools and licensed day cares may also be prepared to dispense potassium iodide to children in an emergency, if you have given prior written consent. Each school and day care will work with state officials to develop emergency procedures regarding potassium iodide.

In case of an overdose or allergic reaction, call your physician or the State Poison Control Center.

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