The wide availability of mixtures containing potassium or sodium iodide calls for a review of the risks involved in the use of this and other drugs that affect thyroid function, particularly when given to pregnant women and to children. Potassium iodide in large doses is often employed as an expectorant in asthma and chronic bronchitis. Skin eruptions, nasal congestion, “iodine mumps” and dyspepsia are the most frequent side effects. Hypothyroidism and goitre are less common but more serious side effects which may be overlooked; they occur in children and adults taking large doses of iodides for weeks or months. Dietary lack of iodides can of course also produce goitre; however, the use of iodized salt can largely eliminate endemic or iodine-deficiency goitre.
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