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Radiopharmaceutical therapy, by oral administration

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Radiopharmaceutical Therapy (also known as Radioisotope Therapy, Radionuclide Therapy)

Summary

Radiopharmaceutical therapy involves using radioactive substances to treat certain medical conditions. Administered orally, patients take a radioactive pill designed to target specific tissues, often used for treating cancers or overactive thyroid.

Purpose

Radiopharmaceutical therapy aims to treat diseases by delivering radiation directly to diseased cells, minimizing damage to healthy tissues. It is primarily used for:

  • Treating certain types of cancer, such as thyroid cancer.
  • Addressing overactive thyroid conditions like hyperthyroidism.

Indications

Suitable for patients with:

  • Certain types of thyroid cancers.
  • Hyperthyroidism not responsive to other treatments.
  • Symptoms that match specific clinical criteria determined by a specialist.

Preparation

  • Patients may need to fast for a few hours before taking the radioactive pill.
  • Certain medications might need adjustment or temporary discontinuation.
  • Pre-procedure tests include blood tests and radiographic imaging to ensure suitability and proper dosing.

Procedure Description

  1. The patient consumes a capsule or liquid containing the radiopharmaceutical.
  2. The radioactive substance gets absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the target area.
  3. The radiation emitted destroys diseased cells over time.

Tools/Equipment:

  • Radiopharmaceuticals tailored to specific medical needs.
  • Monitoring devices to track radiation levels.

Anesthesia/Sedation:

  • None required for the administration of the oral capsule.

Duration

  • The oral administration itself takes only a few minutes.
  • The therapeutic effects unfold over days to weeks.

Setting

  • The procedure is commonly performed in a hospital or specialized outpatient clinic.

Personnel

  • Nuclear medicine specialist or radiologist.
  • Nursing staff specialized in handling radioactive materials.

Risks and Complications

Common Risks:

  • Temporary nausea.
  • Swelling and tenderness in the treatment area. Rare Complications:
  • Significant damage to nearby healthy tissues.
  • Secondary malignancies.
  • Management requires specialized medical attention.

Benefits

  • Targeted treatment reduces harm to surrounding healthy tissues.
  • Effective in cases where traditional therapies might fail.
  • Symptom relief and potential disease remission typically observed within weeks.

Recovery

  • Avoid close contact with others, especially pregnant women and children, for a few days.
  • Hydration is crucial to help clear the radioactive substance from the body.
  • Follow-up appointments to monitor progress and manage any side effects.

Alternatives

  • Surgery for removal of affected tissue.
  • External beam radiotherapy.
  • Systemic chemotherapy. Pros and Cons:
  • Surgery and standard radiotherapy may involve more extensive recovery times and side effects.

Patient Experience

During the Procedure:

  • Generally, painless and quick ingestion of the pill. After the Procedure:
  • May experience mild discomfort or nausea.
  • Specific instructions to limit radiation exposure to others. Pain Management:
  • Over-the-counter pain relief for discomfort if needed.

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