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I-131 Therapy

(for Hyperthyroidism or Thyroid Cancer)

Patient Preparation

Patient must not have any food or drink for 4 hours prior to their exam.If the patient has had an IVP or a CT with IV contrast, a thyroid therapy should not be attempted for 4-6 weeks. Patient should be off thyroid medications for 4-6 weeks. Many other medications interfere with this form of therapy (PCN, antihistamines, Amiodarone, etc.).  Please be sure to notify the nuclear medicine technologist of any medications you are taking.

Exam Procedure

Patient will usually have a thyroid uptake and scan study prior to therapy to determine size, shape and function of their thyroid gland. The strength of the treatment is based on these factors.

The patient will be required to swallow a pill containing a small amount of radioactive iodine. The pill has no side effects.

Following iodine therapies, patients are given specific instructions with respect to precautions which include, but are not limited to:

  • decreasing close contact with children under 3 years of age,
  • not sharing utensils, and
  • flushing the toilet twice after urination.

Generally, proximity limitations would be similar to those of a person with a cold or flu. Women who are breastfeeding must discontinue breastfeeding completely following a radioiodine treatment.

Women who are planning a pregnancy should consult with their physician. Pregnancy should be postponed by approximately 1 year after treatment.



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