Anyone can take potassium iodide tablets.
However, any child or adult suffering from the following illnesses or allergies is strongly discouraged from taking them:
- Hypersensitivity to iodine (a rare form of allergy that should not be confused with the more common allergy to the contrast products used for X-rays);
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (also known as Duhring's disease): a chronic skin condition characterised by the formation of blisters that resemble those of herpes, a rash and severe itching;
- Hypersensitivity or allergic vasculitis: an allergic inflammation of the vessels;
- Congenital myotonia (a genetic muscular illness);
- Pemphigus vulgaris (a cutaneous illness).
For anyone who has had their thyroid completely removed, iodide tablets are of no use. It is nevertheless advisable to check with the doctor to find out whether the whole thyroid gland has indeed been removed. In the event of only partial removal, iodide tablets have some use and therefore should be taken in the event of a nuclear accident.
People with thyroid dysfunction, asthma, heart failure, renal impairment or auto-immune illnesses should consult their doctor before taking iodide tablets.
For adults over the age of 45 the potential risks of taking stable iodine tablets can outweigh the potential benefits. Stable iodine is therefore not recommended in large quantities from this age.
There is no immediate danger however if someone over the age of 45 accidentally takes an iodide tablet.