New recommendations from the American Thyroid Association (ATA) on outpatient radioiodine (131I) treatment to minimize unintended radiation exposure and maximize the safety of patients, their families and the public have been published in the April issue of Thyroid.
The ATA convened a task force to update radiation safety information related to outpatient 131I therapy to treat hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer. Two major principles guide radiation safety: sound medical practice and adherence to regulations, according to the ATA task force.
The recommendations covered a broad range of topics including travel; safety precautions at home, work and school; personal hygiene; and pregnancy and breastfeeding. These recommendations complied with the most up-to-date U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations, including a recent guidance statement that advised medical professionals administering 131I therapy to ask patients about their intended destination after the treatment and to discourage them from staying at hotels to limit public radiation exposure.
"The strength of these practice recommendations is that the task force included representatives across the range of disciplines that use radiation to treat thyroid patients. It is essential that our patients receive clear and consistent information from those ordering, administering and monitoring these treatments," stated Gregory A. Brent, MD, professor of medicine and physiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles and president of the ATA.
Periodic re-evaluations of programs and protocols should take into account the observations on adherence to precautions reported by patients, according to the recommendations. The complete ATA recommendations are available here.