New Drugs Thwart Dirty Bomb Effects

Rid body of radioactive elements

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FRIDAY, Aug. 13, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two new drugs designed to counter the radioactive effects of a so-called "dirty bomb."

The agency said the drugs, penetrate calcium trisodium (Ca-DTPA) and penetrate zinc trisodium (Zn-DTPA), are safe and effective for treating contamination from plutonium, americium, or curium -- three elements that could be used to produce a dirty bomb.

Such a device would use conventional explosives to spread radioactive material across a wide area. While it wouldn't cause the death and destruction of a true nuclear device, it's easier to build and could still make a large area virtually uninhabitable, experts say.

The newly approved medications have been used for several decades as "investigational drugs" to treat people in radioactive emergencies, the agency said in a statement.

By speeding the process of removing radioactive elements from the body, the drugs can prevent certain cancers that could occur years after exposure, the FDA said.

To learn more about radiation exposure, visit Medline Plus.

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