How do medications treat radiation poisoning?

When a person suffers from radiation poisoning, medications can be used to treat internal contamination with radioactive material, bone marrow failure, and symptoms.

If the source of radioactive material is present inside a person's body, a variety of substances can be used to reduce the level of exposure. However, these chemicals only address contamination with certain types of radioactive material. They work by either helping rid the body of the radioactive material or by decreasing the amount of radiation absorbed by the body. Examples of these substances include potassium iodide (to treat radioactive iodine poisoning), Prussian blue (to treat cesium and thallium poisoning), and diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (to treat plutonium, americium and curium poisoning).

Growth factors can treat the bone marrow failure caused by radiation poisoning. These include injectable medications such as filgrastim and eythropoietin that stimulate the bone marrow to make the blood cells that help fight infection and carry oxygen.

Several other medications are used to manage symptoms of radiation poisoning. These include medications to address nausea, pain, infections, and seizures.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.