What are potential adverse effects of radioiodine therapy for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC)?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Ponnandai S Somasundar, MD, MPH, FACS; Chief Editor: Neetu Radhakrishnan, MD  more...
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Potential adverse effects of radioiodine administration include the following:

  • Radiation thyroiditis and transient thyrotoxicosis in patients with simple lobectomy

  • Sialoadenitis, because radioiodine is taken up by the salivary glands

  • Nausea, anorexia, and headache (uncommon)

  • Pulmonary fibrosis in patients with large lung metastases

  • Brain edema in patients with brain metastases (may be prevented by glucocorticoid therapy)

  • Permanent sterility and transient oligospermia or menstrual irregularities

  • Teratogenesis and spontaneous abortions

  • A small increase in the risk for leukemias (in particular, acute myeloid leukemia [56] ) or breast and bladder carcinomas

Because radioiodine treatment may cause either teratogenesis or spontaneous abortions, patients should delay pregnancy for at least 1 year after radioiodine treatment.

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