Potassium iodide – application, treatment, what is it and how it works
Potassium iodide, or potassium salt of hydroiodic acid, is an inorganic chemical compound with the symbol KI. Potassium iodide forms colourless crystals that are easily soluble in water. Potassium iodide is added in a small amount to table salt, serving to iodize it. Iodine supplementation is necessary in areas where there is a deficiency of this element - too little iodine in the body is associated with the risk of many diseases and ailments.
Medical use of Potassium Iodide
Potassium iodide is one of the ingredients of Lugol's solution, which is an aqueous solution of iodine and potassium iodide administered mainly to children to counteract the effects of radioactive contamination. Lugol's solution inhibits the penetration of radioactive isotopes into the thyroid gland - therefore it is recommended that in countries exposed to radioactive contamination associated with nuclear power plant failures, this preparation should be widely available. Potassium iodide is also used in the production of iodine - a disinfectant used to disinfect wounds and treat water (iodine is a dilute solution of iodine in ethanol with the addition of potassium iodide) - and to make ointments. Potassium iodide ointments are used to treat blunt injuries, strain muscles and ligaments, lymphoedema, inflammation and iodine therapy. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties. Potassium iodide is also used as an orally administered expectorant in inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. This compound is also used in the treatment of mild forms of sporotrichosis, a serious disease caused by infection by a microscopic fungus.
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An extremely important application of potassium iodide is in iodine supplementation. This compound is added to table salt in many countries to prevent iodine deficiency. Iodine is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and the endocrine system. Its deficiency has a negative impact on metabolic processes, muscle work, and especially on the development of the nervous system and the brain in the womb and early childhood. Some food products contain this element, there is also a lot of it at the seaside (iodine is also absorbed through the skin and respiratory tract), but in areas far from the sea it is necessary to supplement it. For this, potassium iodide is helpful.
Precautions when using potassium iodide and the side effects of preparations with potassium iodide
If potassium iodide is used orally as an expectorant, it should not be combined with other expectorants. Medicines containing potassium iodide can cause side effects and side effects.
Preparations with potassium iodide may cause painful swelling of the salivary glands, runny nose, digestive system disorders, vomiting, nausea, skin allergies: rash, itching, eczema, worsening of tuberculosis symptoms.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, iodine supplementation is sometimes necessary, but the use of preparations with potassium iodide at this time should be consulted with a doctor.
Potassium iodide - dosing during radiation hazard
What drug is used in a nuclear disaster and how to dose it? Can children take potassium iodide? Is potassium iodide available on prescription?
In the event of a nuclear disaster, e.g. as a result of the destruction of a nuclear power plant, the Minister of Health may issue an instruction regarding the dispensing of drugs with potassium iodide (65 mg potassium iodide, containing 50 mg of iodine) from the Governmental Agency for Strategic Reserves. Potassium iodide tablets will be dispensed free of charge, without a prescription, from generally accessible pharmacies, company pharmacies, hospital pharmacies and hospital pharmacy departments.
Potassium iodide - how soon should you take it in case of radiation?
Potassium iodide may only be taken in a nuclear emergency, after hearing an appropriate announcement, e.g. via radio or television. The drug containing potassium iodide is best taken up to 2 hours from the time of exposure to radiation, and administration of the drug for up to 8 hours is also beneficial for the patient.
Potassium iodide - dosage in case of radiation hazard
The drug can be used by very young children (newborns and infants), older children, adults, and also by pregnant and breastfeeding women:
* adults and children over 12 years of age - 100 mg of iodine
* children from 3 to 12 years of age - 50 mg of iodine
* children from 1 month to 3 years - 25 mg of iodine
* newborns and infants younger than 1 month - 12.5 mg of iodine
* pregnant and lactating women - 100 mg of iodine