SSKI

Generic Name: potassium iodide (Oral route)

poe-TAS-ee-um EYE-oh-dide

Oral route(Solution)

When used in a nuclear radiation emergency, instruct patients on the proper dosage and usage. Should be used along with other emergency measures that will be recommended by public officials .

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Pima
  • SSKI
  • ThyroShield

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Solution
  • Syrup

Therapeutic Class: Antithyroid Agent

Uses For SSKI

Potassium iodide is used to treat overactive thyroid and to protect the thyroid gland from the effects of radiation from inhaled or swallowed radioactive iodine. It may be used before and after administration of medicine containing radioactive iodine or after accidental exposure to radioactive iodine (for example, from nuclear power plant accidents that involved release of radioactivity to the environment). It may also be used for other problems as determined by your doctor.

Slideshow: OTC Medication Use In Pregnancy: Wise or Worrisome?

Potassium iodide is taken by mouth. It may be taken as an oral solution, syrup, uncoated tablet, or enteric-coated delayed-release tablet. However, the delayed-release tablet form may cause serious side effects and its use is generally not recommended.

Some brands of the oral solution are available without a prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, potassium iodide is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

  • To prepare the thyroid gland before a thyroid operation
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Certain skin conditions caused by fungus

In addition to the above information, for patients taking this medicine for a fungus infection:

  • Keep taking it for the full course of treatment , even if you begin to feel better after a few days. This will help clear up your infection completely. Do not miss any doses .

Before Using SSKI

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Potassium iodide may cause skin rash and thyroid problems in infants.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of potassium iodide in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than in younger adults.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Acenocoumarol
  • Anisindione
  • Dicumarol
  • Phenindione
  • Phenprocoumon
  • Warfarin

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • High blood levels of potassium (hyperkalemia) or
  • Myotonia congenita or
  • Tuberculosis—Potassium iodine may make these conditions worse
  • Kidney disease—May cause an increase of potassium in the blood
  • Overactive thyroid (unless you are taking this medicine for this medical problem)—Prolonged use of potassium iodine may be harmful to the thyroid gland

Proper Use of potassium iodide

This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain potassium iodide. It may not be specific to SSKI. Please read with care.

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.

For patients taking this medicine for radiation exposure :

  • Take this medicine only when directed to do so by state or local public health authorities.
  • Take this medicine once 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.

For patients taking the oral solution form of this medicine:

  • This medicine is to be taken by mouth even if it comes in a dropper bottle.
  • Do not use if solution turns brownish yellow.
  • Take potassium iodide in a full glass (8 ounces) of water or in fruit juice, milk, or broth to improve the taste and lessen stomach upset. Be sure to drink all of the liquid to get the full dose of medicine.
  • If crystals form in potassium iodide solution, they may be dissolved by warming the closed container of solution in warm water and then gently shaking the container.

For patients taking the uncoated tablet form of this medicine:

  • Before taking, dissolve each tablet in ½ glass (4 ounces) of water or milk. Be sure to drink all of the liquid to get the full dose of medicine.

Dosing

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.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For solution dosage form:
    • To treat overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism):
      • Adults and teenagers—250 milligrams (mg) (0.25 milliliters [mL]) three times a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • To protect the thyroid gland against radiation exposure:
      • Adults or teenagers approaching adult weight (greater than 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.
  • For syrup dosage form:
    • To protect the thyroid gland against radiation exposure:
      • Adults or teenagers approaching adult weight (70 kg or 154 lbs of body weight) greater)—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.
  • For 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.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using SSKI

Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine does not cause unwanted effects.

For patients on a low-potassium diet:

  • This medicine contains potassium. Check with your health care professional before you take this medicine.

SSKI Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
  • Hives
  • joint pain
  • swelling of arms, face, legs, lips, tongue, and/or throat
  • swelling of lymph glands
With long-term use
  • Burning of mouth or throat
  • confusion
  • headache (severe)
  • increased watering of mouth
  • irregular heartbeat
  • metallic taste
  • numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in hands or feet
  • soreness of teeth and gums
  • sores on skin
  • symptoms of head cold
  • unusual tiredness
  • weakness or heaviness of legs

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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