FDAAdvice Regarding Potassium Iodide: Warns About Unapproved Products

The FDA has issued warnings regarding potassium iodide (KI) – a drug used to prevent effects of radiation exposure – and fakes of the drug, as the post-earthquake crisis continues to unfold in Japan. The section, “Radiation Safety” on the FDA Web site has been updated with information on food safety and medical product safety, including details on appropriate use of KI in an emergency situation when authorized by the appropriate government agencies. Some consumers have responded to situation in Japan by searching out KI. FDA explains that “There is no public health event requiring anyone in the US to take KI because of the ongoing situation in Japan.” FDA also warns consumers to be cautious about online purchasing of products claimed to prevent or treat the effects of radiation exposure. FDA informs consumers that these products are not approved, and include dietary supplements and products claimed to be drugs, devices, or vaccines. Consumers should be wary of promotions that make claims such as “scientific breakthrough,” “miraculous cure,” or “secret ingredient,” or promotions promising no-risk, money-back guarantees, for example. The “Radiation Safety” section of the FDA Web site includes a detailed list of red flags for consumers to avoid.