Potassium iodide solution

Generic Name: potassium iodide (poe-TASS-ee-uhm EYE-oh-dide)
Brand Name: ThyroShield

Take potassium iodide solution only as recommended. Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or take potassium iodide solution more often than recommended. Taking too much of potassium iodide solution may increase the risk of side effects. Do NOT take potassium iodide solution if you are allergic to iodine.


Potassium iodide solution is used for:

Protecting the thyroid gland from the toxic effects of radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide solution should only be used in a nuclear radiation emergency.

Potassium iodide solution is a thyroid blocking agent. It works by blocking or reducing the chances that radioactive iodine, which may be breathed in or swallowed during a nuclear emergency, will enter the thyroid gland and cause damage.

Do NOT use potassium iodide solution if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in potassium iodide solution or iodine
  • you have high blood levels of urea or other nitrogenous substances (azotemia), certain skin or blood vessel problems (dermatitis herpetiformis, hypocomplementemic vasculitis), decreased urination (oliguria), or high blood potassium levels
  • you have abnormal growths on the thyroid gland (nodular thyroid disease) with heart disease

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using potassium iodide solution:

Some medical conditions may interact with potassium iodide solution. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have kidney problems
  • if you have a history of thyroid problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with potassium iodide solution. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Lithium because the risk of hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) may be increased
  • Aldosterone blockers (eg, eplerenone), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, captopril), potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, spironolactone), or potassium supplements because the risk of serious side effects, including high blood potassium and irregular heartbeat, may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if potassium iodide solution may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use potassium iodide solution:

Use potassium iodide solution as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with potassium iodide solution. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take potassium iodide solution by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Use the dropper that comes with potassium iodide solution to measure your dose. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure your dose.
  • If you are instructed to take more than 1 dose of potassium iodide solution, do NOT take it sooner than 24 hours after the last dose of potassium iodide solution. Do NOT take more than 1 dose per day.
  • If you miss a dose of potassium iodide solution, take it as soon as possible. If you are instructed to take more than 1 dose of potassium iodide solution and it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do NOT take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use potassium iodide solution.

Important safety information:

  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, or take potassium iodide solution more often or longer than recommended. Taking too much of potassium iodide solution may increase the risk of serious side effects.
  • Do not use a salt substitute or a potassium supplement without checking with your doctor.
  • Stop taking potassium iodide solution and contact your health care provider if any of the following signs of iodine poisoning occur: burning of the mouth or throat, severe headache, metallic taste in mouth, soreness of the teeth and gums, irritation of the eyes with swelling of the eyelids, or increased salivation.
  • Caution is advised when using potassium iodide solution in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Potassium iodide solution may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking potassium iodide solution while you are pregnant. Potassium iodide solution is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you take potassium iodide solution, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of potassium iodide solution:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; mild fever; mild headache; nausea; stomach pain; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the feet, hands, mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; wheezing or shortness of breath); chest pain; confusion; fever with joint pain; irregular heartbeat; metallic taste in the mouth; mouth sores; numbness or tingling of the hands or feet; swollen glands in the mouth (salivary glands).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include burning of the mouth or throat; chest pain; increased salivation; irregular heartbeat; muscle weakness; severe headache; soreness of the teeth or gums; swelling.

Proper storage of potassium iodide solution:

Store potassium iodide solution at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep potassium iodide solution out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about potassium iodide solution, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Potassium iodide solution is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take potassium iodide solution or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about potassium iodide solution. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to potassium iodide solution. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using potassium iodide solution.

Issue Date: November 5, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.002
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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