This leaflet aims to provide some information about the use of potassium iodate in light of the radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan.
Potassium iodate is a medicine taken by mouth to block the thyroid from taking up radioactive iodine so reducing the risk of developing thyroid cancer.
Facts you need to know:

  1. This pharmacy does not stock potassium iodate. 

Potassium iodate tablets are not generally stocked by community pharmacies in this country.
The pharmacist is not obliged to supply you with potassium iodate when there is no need for it.

  1. There is currently no risk in the UK from radiation leaks in Japan. 

The Health Protection Agency has identified no risk in the UK and as such there is no immediate necessity for pharmacists to supply potassium iodate to the British public for their own use. 

  1. The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises against self-medication with potassium iodate tablets.

WHO advises that you should take potassium iodate tablets only when it is recommended by local public health authorities, in this case Japan.

  1. You may experience adverse side-effects from the unnecessary use of potassium iodate tablets, whilst gaining no health benefits.

For example - abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and swelling of the salivary and thyroid glands.

  1. Potassium iodate is not suitable for all groups of people.
  1. Mouthwash and other products such as iodized salt which contain iodine do not give any protection against exposure to radiation. 

Swallowing mouthwash may cause you serious harm. Similarly, consuming large amounts of iodized salts can cause more harm than good and can lead to serious medical problems.

Further information:
Travellers visiting Japan (or Asia) should seek local advice regarding the use of potassium iodate/iodide in anticipation of exposure and seek travel advice from the following:

Any travellers returning from Japan who are concerned about their health and any potential exposure to radiation are advised to seek medical advice from their general practitioner.