Iodine

How does Iodine work?

Iodine reduces thyroid hormone and can kill fungus, bacteria, and other microorganisms such as amoebas. A specific kind of iodine called potassium iodide is also used to treat (but not prevent) the effects of a radioactive accident.

Are there safety concerns?

Iodine seems to be safe for most people. It can cause side effects including swelling of the lips and face (angioedema), severe bleeding and bruising, fever, joint pain, lymph node enlargement, allergic reactions including hives, and death. Large amounts or long-term use can cause metallic taste, soreness of teeth and gums, burning in mouth and throat, increased saliva, throat inflammation, stomach upset, diarrhea, anorexia, depression, skin problems, and many other side effects.

When iodine is used directly on the skin, it can cause skin irritation, stains, allergic reactions, and other side effects. Be careful not to bandage or tightly cover areas that have been treated with iodine to avoid iodine burn.

Do not use iodine if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have a thyroid disorder such as too little thyroid function (hypothyroidism), an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), or a thyroid tumor.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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