Thyroid Cancer / Nodules & Hyperthyroidism Expert Forum
RAI Ablation: Protect Family With Potassium Iodide?
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RAI Ablation: Protect Family With Potassium Iodide?

Everywhere else in the world patients are isolated during RAI Ablation. In the US we go home right away to keep costs down. Iodine is secreted through sweat, and exhaled as well. Iodine has been shown to be absorbed through the skin, and through inhalation. Children are particularly susceptible to I-131 exposure.

I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma 8 years after cohabiting with someone who underwent RAI ablation therapy. This correlation could be coincidental, but I don't want to risk giving my 5 year old son cancer when I undergo RAI ablation.

Is there any reason a prophylactic dose of potassium iodide (KI) for family members would be contraindicated during ablation therapy? KI has been shown to be highly effective for thyroid protection, and is available over the counter for use in radiation emergencies. Should I follow the same dosage schedule as for a radioactive emergency?

Thanks in avance for any advice, or reference to existing research or info on the subject.
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I do not think that there is any research on this particular question.  I would imagine the dose would be the same as a radio active emergency.  Most of the time proper isolation and radiation safety protocols would prevent any contamination of the family member.  You should talk with our treating doctor or nuclear medicine specialist regarding your concerns.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Dr Lupo,

Thank you for your reply. It is a shame no research has been done on the subject. I agree that proper isolation and safety protocols would protect family members, however I do not believe the protocols followed in the US are proper (the rest of the world keeps RAI patients isolated in the hospital for several days, longer if there are children at home).

Furthermore, as a practicing physician, I'm sure you can appreciate the fact that patients (and family members) do not follow the proper procedures. Pottasium Iodide is cheap and effective... if it is safe it should probably be standard protocol for protecting family members. (They would have considerable exposure, if say the RAI patient were to vomit at home)
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Avatar_f_tn
I had RAI & was never told any thing about staying away from my husband and 1 year old.

That was 18 yrs ago, and NOTHING happened...
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Mark Lupo, M.D.Blank
Thyroid & Endocrine Center of Florida
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