Drug Approved for Radiation Exposure

May protect against components of so-called 'dirty bomb'

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

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.

Here is the FDA Talk Paper describing the drug approval. Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more information about cesium-137 or thallium exposure.


Last Updated: