Drug Approved for Radiation Exposure
May protect against components of so-called 'dirty bomb'
THURSDAY, Oct. 2, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Radiogardase, also known as Prussian blue, to treat radiation exposure that stems from harmful levels of cesium-137 or thallium.
While both substances have medical uses in low doses, there is concern they may be used by terrorists in a so-called "dirty bomb" -- involving use of a conventional explosive that contains radioactive material. Although such a device is not considered a nuclear weapon, it could be used to spread harmful radioactive material over a wide area.
Radiogardase works by increasing the rate of elimination of these substances from the body, the FDA notes in a statement. Possible side effects from the oral drug include constipation and upset stomach.
The agency says the federal government has stockpiled the drug in the event of a terrorist attack or similar emergency.