Potassium iodide is used to loosen and break up mucus in the airways. This helps you cough up the mucus so you can breathe more easily if you have long-term lung problems (e.g., asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema). This medication is known as an expectorant.
Potassium iodide is also used along with antithyroid medicines to prepare the thyroid gland for surgical removal, to treat certain overactive thyroid conditions (hyperthyroidism), and to protect the thyroid in a radiation exposure emergency. It works by shrinking the size of the thyroid gland and decreasing the amount of thyroid hormones produced.
In a radiation emergency, potassium iodide blocks only the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine, protecting it from damage and reducing the risk of thyroid cancer. Use this medication along with other emergency measures that will be recommended to you by public health and safety officials (e.g., finding safe shelter, evacuation, controlling food supply).
How To Use
Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) as directed by your doctor or public health and safety officials. To avoid stomach upset, take after meals or with food. Drink plenty of liquids with this medication unless otherwise directed. If you are taking the tablets, do not lie down for 10 minutes after taking this medication. If you are using the drops or liquid medication, use the dropper that comes with the bottle or a medication spoon/device to measure the correct dose. Liquid forms of this product may be mixed in water, milk, formula, or juice before taking. Do not use this medication if the solution turns brownish-yellow.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. In children, dosage is also based on age. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or take it for longer than prescribed or recommended because of the increased risk of side effects.
In a radiation emergency, take this drug only when public health and safety officials tell you to do so. Read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with the medication. Start treatment as soon as possible for the best protection. Take this medication usually once every 24 hours. The length of treatment will be determined by public health and safety officials and depends on several factors (e.g., whether you continue to be exposed to the radiation, and whether you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or have a newborn baby). See also Precautions.
If so directed, use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.