What is Radioactive Iodine Therapy?
Nuclear Medicine

What is Radioactive Iodine Therapy?

    What is Radioactive Iodine Therapy?

    Radioactive iodine therapy is a type of treatment that uses small amounts of radioactive iodine to destroy cancer cells or benign (noncancerous) growths in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck that produces hormones that regulate the body's energy and metabolism. Radioactive iodine is taken by mouth in the form of a capsule or liquid, and it is absorbed by the thyroid gland. The radiation from the iodine destroys the thyroid cells that absorb it, which can help shrink thyroid tumors or reduce the size of an enlarged thyroid gland. Radioactive iodine therapy is most commonly used to treat thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland), and certain types of goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland). It is usually administered by a doctor who specializes in the treatment of thyroid disorders, such as an endocrinologist or a nuclear medicine physician.

    Radyoaktif İyot Tedavisi Kimlere Uygulanır?

    Radyoaktif iyot tedavisi, tiroid bezi kanserleri veya tiroid bezinde bulunan benign (nonkanseröz) büyümeleri yok etmek için küçük miktarlarda radyoaktif iyod kullanan bir tedavidir. Tiroid bezi, boyununuzda bulunan ve vücut enerjisi ve metabolizmasını düzenleyen hormonlar üreten küçük kelebek şeklinde bir bezdir. Radyoaktif iyod, kapsül veya sıvı olarak ağızdan alınır ve tiroid bezi tarafından emilir. İyodun radyasyonu, onu emen tiroid hücrelerini yok eder, bu da tiroid tümörlerinin küçülmesine veya büyük tiroid bezinin boyutunun azaltılmasına yardımcı olur. Radyoaktif iyot tedavisi çoğunlukla tiroid kanseri, hipertiroidizm (aşırı aktif tiroid bezi) ve bazı tipte goiter (büyük tiroid bezi) tedavisinde kullanılır. Genellikle, tiroid bozukluklarının tedavisinde uzmanlaşmış bir doktor tarafından uygulanır, örneğin bir endokrinolog veya nükleer tıp doktoru.

    How is Radioactive Iodine Treatment Applied?

    Radioactive iodine treatment is usually a simple outpatient procedure that takes only a few minutes to administer. Before the treatment, the patient may be asked to stop taking certain medications that could interfere with the absorption of radioactive iodine, such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy or antithyroid medications. The patient may also be asked to follow a low-iodine diet for a few days before the treatment to help ensure that the thyroid gland absorbs as much of the radioactive iodine as possible.

    On the day of the treatment, the patient will be given a capsule or liquid containing a small amount of radioactive iodine to swallow. The patient will then be asked to wait in a designated area for a few hours to allow the radioactive iodine to be absorbed by the thyroid gland. During this time, the patient may be advised to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the radioactive iodine out of the body.

    After the treatment, the patient may be advised to follow certain precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to others, such as staying away from close contact with pregnant women, children, and anyone with a compromised immune system. These precautions may be necessary for a few days or weeks, depending on the dose of radioactive iodine received. The patient may also be advised to have regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider to monitor the response to treatment and check for any potential side effects.

    What are the Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment?

    Like all medical treatments, radioactive iodine treatment can cause side effects. The most common side effect of radioactive iodine treatment is a temporary decrease in energy and increased fatigue, which can last for a few days to several weeks. Other common side effects may include:

    Dry mouth and throat

    Sore throat

    Swelling of the salivary glands

    Decreased sense of taste and smell

    Nausea and vomiting

    Diarrhea or constipation

    Hair loss

    Rash or redness at the site of the capsule or liquid

    In rare cases, radioactive iodine treatment may cause more serious side effects, such as an allergic reaction, damage to the salivary glands, or damage to the thyroid gland. If the patient experiences any severe or persistent side effects, they should contact their healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment.

    It is important to note that radioactive iodine treatment may also increase the risk of developing a new thyroid cancer or a different type of cancer in the future. However, the risk of developing a new cancer is usually very low and is usually outweighed by the benefits of the treatment.

    What kind of preparation should be done before radioactive iodine treatment?

    Before radioactive iodine treatment, the patient may be asked to stop taking certain medications that could interfere with the absorption of radioactive iodine, such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy or antithyroid medications. The patient may also be asked to follow a low-iodine diet for a few days before the treatment to help ensure that the thyroid gland absorbs as much of the radioactive iodine as possible.

    A low-iodine diet is a special diet that helps to reduce the amount of iodine in the body before radioactive iodine treatment. Iodine is a mineral that is found naturally in certain foods, such as dairy products, eggs, seafood, and iodized salt. A low-iodine diet usually involves avoiding or limiting these types of foods and choosing foods that are low in iodine instead. The patient may be given specific instructions on what to eat and what to avoid during the low-iodine diet. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to help ensure the success of the treatment.

    The patient may also be asked to stop taking certain vitamins and supplements that contain iodine, such as kelp or seaweed, for a few days before the treatment. It is important to inform the healthcare provider about all medications, vitamins, and supplements that the patient is taking before the treatment.

    Before the treatment, the patient may also be asked to undergo certain tests, such as blood tests and imaging tests, to assess the function of the thyroid gland and to determine the appropriate dose of radioactive iodine. The patient may also be asked to sign a consent form stating that they understand the risks and benefits of the treatment.

    The content of the page is for informational purposes only, please consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

    About the Author

    Medical Editorial Board

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    Approved by on 06.01.2023

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    İrfanPEKSOY
    Nuclear Medicine

    Prof. M.D.

    İrfan PEKSOY

    Koru Ankara Hospital