What is Potassium iodide used for?
Potassium iodide is used to loosen and break up mucus in the airways. This helps you cough up the mucus so you can breathe more easily if you have long-term lung problems (e.g., asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema). This medication is known as an expectorant.
Potassium iodide is also used along with antithyroid medicines to prepare the thyroid gland for surgical removal, to treat certain overactive thyroid conditions (hyperthyroidism), and to protect the thyroid in a radiation exposure emergency. It works by shrinking the size of the thyroid gland and decreasing the amount of thyroid hormones produced.
In a radiation emergency, potassium iodide blocks only the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine, protecting it from damage and reducing the risk of thyroid cancer. Use this medication along with other emergency measures that will be recommended to you by public health and safety officials (e.g., finding safe shelter, evacuation, controlling food supply).
How should I take Potassium iodide?
Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) as directed by your doctor or public health and safety officials. To avoid stomach upset, take after meals or with food. Drink plenty of liquids with this medication unless otherwise directed. If you are taking the tablets, do not lie down for 10 minutes after taking this medication. If you are using the drops or liquid medication, use the dropper that comes with the bottle or a medication spoon/device to measure the correct dose. Liquid forms of this product may be mixed in water, milk, formula, or juice before taking. Do not use this medication if the solution turns brownish-yellow.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. In children, dosage is also based on age. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or take it for longer than prescribed or recommended because of the increased risk of side effects.
In a radiation emergency, take this drug only when public health and safety officials tell you to do so. Start treatment as soon as possible for the best protection. Take this medication usually once every 24 hours. The length of treatment will be determined by public health and safety officials and depends on several factors (e.g., whether you continue to be exposed to the radiation, and whether you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or have a newborn baby).
If so directed, use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
How do I store Potassium iodide?
Potassium iodide is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Potassium iodide in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Potassium iodide that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush Potassium iodide down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using Potassium iodide?
Before taking potassium iodide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to iodine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: current attack/worsening of bronchitis (if taking potassium iodide to thin mucus in the lungs), a certain type of skin condition (dermatitis herpetiformis), a certain type of blood vessel disease (hypocomplementemic vasculitis), nodular thyroid disease with heart disease.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: certain thyroid disorders (e.g., multinodular goiter, Graves’ disease, autoimmune thyroiditis), overactive thyroid disease (unless you are specifically prescribed potassium iodide to treat hyperthyroidism), tuberculosis, high potassium blood level, kidney disease, Addison’s disease, a certain muscle disorder (myotonia congenita).
Caution is advised when this drug is given to newborn babies younger than 1 month old. Treatment for more than 1 day should be avoided because repeated dosing increases the risk of blocking thyroid function, possibly affecting the newborn’s brain development. If treatment is needed for longer than 1 day, discuss the risks and benefits with the doctor. Treated babies should be given thyroid function tests.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Treatment for more than 1 day should be avoided because repeated dosing increases the risk of blocking thyroid function in the unborn baby, possibly causing harm. If treatment is needed for longer than 1 day, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Caution is advised when this drug is used by women who are breast-feeding. This drug passes into breast milk. Treatment for more than 1 day should be avoided if you are breast-feeding because repeated dosing increases the risk of blocking thyroid function in the nursing infant. This effect may cause harm, especially in newborns younger than 1 month old. If treatment is needed for longer than 1 day, discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits, as well as whether you should stop breast-feeding.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Potassium iodide during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is pregnancy risk category D according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk,
- B=No risk in some studies,
- C=There may be some risk,
- D=Positive evidence of risk,
What side effects can occur from Potassium iodide?
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: burning mouth/throat, sore teeth/gums, swelling inside the mouth, increased saliva, eye irritation/swollen eyelids, severe headache, swelling of the front of the neck/throat (goiter), signs of decreased thyroid gland function (e.g., weight gain, cold intolerance, slow/irregular heartbeat, constipation, unusual tiredness), confusion, numbness/tingling/pain/weakness of the hands/feet.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, bloody diarrhea.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, fever with joint pain.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with Potassium iodide?
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: ACE inhibitors (e.g., captopril, lisinopril), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs such as losartan, valsartan), certain “water pills” (potassium-sparing diuretics such as amiloride, spironolactone, triamterene), drospirenone, eplerenone, lithium, potassium-containing drugs (e.g., supplements such as potassium chloride).
Potassium iodide may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Does food or alcohol interact with Potassium iodide?
Potassium iodide may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with Potassium iodide?
Potassium iodide may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Potassium iodide.
What is the dose of Potassium iodide for an adult?
Usual Adult Dose for Cough
300 to 650 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day.
Usual Adult Dose for Hyperthyroidism
Oral solution: 250 mg orally 3 times a day. Give for 10 to 14 days prior to thyroid surgery.
May be given as 0.25 mL of a 1 g/mL potassium iodine solution (SSKI) or as 4 mL of 325 mg/5 mL solution. Alternatively, 2 to 6 drops of a 10% potassium iodide/5% iodine solution may be given orally 3 times a day with food.
Usual Adult Dose for Cutaneous Sporotrichosis
250 to 500 mg orally 3 times a day. Increase gradually to a maximum of 2 to 2.5 grams 3 times a day. Continue at maximum tolerated dose until the cutaneous lesions have resolved, usually 6 to 12 weeks.
Usual Adult Dose for Radiation Emergency
Pregnant or lactating women with exposure >= 5 centigrays (cGy): 130 mg orally per day.
>18 and <=40 years with exposure >= 10 centigrays (cGy): 130 mg orally per day.
>40 years with exposure >= 500 centigrays (cGy): 130 mg orally per day.
Renal Dose Adjustments
Potassium iodide should be used cautiously in patients with renal dysfunction. Due to impaired renal filtering of electrolytes, an increase in serum potassium can occur in patients with renal impairment.
Administer after meals with food or milk or dilute with a large quantity of water, fruit juice, or broth.
What is the dose of Potassium iodide for a child?
Usual Pediatric Dose for Cough
60 to 250 mg orally every 4 to 6 times a day. Maximum single dose 500 mg.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hyperthyroidism
Oral solution: 250 mg orally 3 times a day. Give for 10 to 14 days prior to thyroid surgery.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Cutaneous Sporotrichosis
250 to 500 mg orally 3 times a day. Increase gradually to a maximum of 1.25 to 2 grams 3 times a day. Continue at maximum tolerated dose until the cutaneous lesions have resolved, usually 6 to 12 weeks.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Radiation Emergency
<=1 month with exposure >= 5 centigrays (cGy): 16 mg orally per day.
>1 month <=3 years with exposure >= 5 centigrays (cGy): 32 mg orally per day.
>3 years <= 18 years (less than 70 kg) with exposure >= 5 centigrays (cGy): 65 mg orally per day.
>13 years >= 70 kg with exposure >= 5 centigrays (cGy): 130 mg orally per day.
How is Potassium iodide available?
Potassium iodide is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Oral solution,
- Oral liquid,
- Compounding powder,
- Oral tablet.
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Potassium iodide, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Potassium Iodide Dosage. https://www.drugs.com/dosage/potassium-iodide.html. Accessed April 6, 2018.
Potassium Iodide Solution. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1823/potassium-iodide-oral/details. Accessed April 6, 2018.
Review Date: April 11, 2018 | Last Modified: April 11, 2018