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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67-73

Pattern of short-term adverse effects in patients undergoing low-dose radioactive iodine therapy

1 Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
2 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ancy George
Mattathil House, Puthiya Road, Eroor South, Thrippunithura, Ernakulam, Kerala - 682 306
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/trp.trp_4_22

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Introduction: The disorders of the thyroid gland are on the rise. It involves the dysregulation of hormone synthesis and release and carcinoma of the thyroid gland among others. Radioactive iodine (RAI – I-131) is now used for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and thyroid carcinoma. This helps in the destruction of the follicular cells, and the radiation helps in annulling the cancer cells. RAI has many adverse effects including short term and long term; the short-term effects include gastrointestinal disorder, salivary dysfunction, and thyroiditis, while the long-term adverse effects include secondary carcinomas. The facilities for giving RAI therapy (RAIT) are fewer in the state of Kerala and even less in the government sector; further, the adverse effects of RAIT are less studied in our population. Thus, this study aims at finding the pattern of short-term adverse effects of low doses of RAI. Objectives: To evaluate the pattern of short-term adverse effects following low doses of RAIT in patients with hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer. Materials and Methods: This study was designed as a prospective, observational study conducted in patients attending the department of nuclear medicine for low-dose radioiodine therapy in a tertiary care center. Patients were followed up for any occurrences of adverse effects at 1, 3, and 6 months. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 18, and Chi-square test was done to find the association between dose and adverse drug reactions. Results: The study comprised 53 participants, of which 38 (72%) were female. The adverse reactions were reported by 39 participants (74%). Loss of taste and smell in 19 participants (39%), xerostomia in 17 patients (32%), and hair loss in 14 patients (26%) were reported. After 1 month of RAIT, these subsided. The association between gender, age, dose, and adverse effects due to RAIT was tested but was found to have no association (P = 0.979, 0.504, and 0.494, respectively). The complaint of hair loss was higher in female participants, showing a statistically significant association with a P = 0.04. The complete blood counts done pre- and post-RAIT showed a statistically significant decrease in platelet count (P = 0.00) and lymphocytes (P = 0.003), with no clinically significant symptoms or signs. Conclusion: RAI produces short-term adverse effects such as loss of taste and smell, xerostomia, and hair loss which are self-limiting. However, there is a need to identify and manage it for better treatment and patient compliance.

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