Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority

Taking iodine tablets in the event of a nuclear accident

Under 40 years of age, pregnant, breast-feeding or have children living at home? If so, we recommend that you store iodine tablets at home. These tablets can provide protection against radioactive iodine in the event of a nuclear accident and should only be taken on the advice of the public authorities.

Last updated: 30. mars 2021 09:43

IN SHORT

It is particularly important that children and adolescents under 18 years of age and pregnant and breast-feeding women take the tablets because they are at greatest risk of contracting thyroid cancer after being exposed to radioactive iodine.

In Norway, one can purchase iodine tablets without a prescription at the pharmacy.

Why should I take iodine tablets?

In the event of a nuclear accident, radioactive iodine can be dispersed in the air and absorbed by the thyroid gland when inhaling contaminated air and/or ingesting contaminated food and drinks. Iodine tablets will block the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of you contracting cancer of the thyroid gland.

Iodine tablets only provide protection against radioactive iodine and not against other radioactive substances.

The advise to take the tablets will often be accompanied by an advice to stay indoors for up to two days. It is therefore important that you store tablets at home.

When should I take the tablets?

You should only take the tablets on the advice of the public authorities. In the event of a nuclear accident, advice will be given via the media, relevant public authorities and www.dsa.no.

Who should take iodine tablets?

It is particularly important that children and adolescents under 18 years of age and pregnant and breast-feeding women take the tablets because they are at greatest risk of contracting thyroid cancer after being exposed to radioactive iodine.

In special circumstances, it may also be appropriate for adults aged 18 to 40 to take the tablets. People over 40 are at very little risk of contracting thyroid cancer and do not need to take iodine tablets. Anyone who has had their thyroid gland removed need not take iodine tablets either.

The public authorities will provide more detailed advice on which population groups should take the tablets in the event of a nuclear accident and when.

NB! Do not confuse

Iodine tablets for use in the event of a nuclear accident (Jodix) must not be confused with dietary supplements containing iodine. Ask your pharmacist for advice if you need daily dietary supplements which contain iodine, e.g. during pregnancy.

Do not take iodine tablets

  • If you are allergic to potassium iodide or any of the other ingredients in the    medication (listed in the patient information leaflet).

Take iodine tablets but consult your doctor afterwards:

  • If you have a metabolic disorder you should check your metabolic tests 6-12 weeks after intake.
  • If you are pregnant and have a metabolic disorder, your metabolism should be monitored during pregnancy, starting 2 weeks after taking iodine. 
  • If you have dermatitis herpetiformis (Duhring’s disease) your skin condition may become worse after taking iodine and your doctor may need to adjust your treatment.

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