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Margaret A. Winker

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The INN designations for radioactive pharmaceuticals consist of “the name of the compound serving as the carrier for the radioactivity, the symbol for the radioactive isotope, and the atomic weight.”1(p11) Since the nonproprietary name comprises all these components, the complete name should be provided at first mention unless the radiopharmaceuticals being referred to are a general category. Subsequently, a shorter term may be used, such as iodinated albumin or gallium scan.

Although the nonproprietary name for the radiopharmaceutical may appear to contain redundant information, maintaining consistent terminology is important for clarity. For example, technetium Tc 99m is contained in more than 40 nonproprietary radiopharmaceuticals, from technetium Tc 99m albumin to technetium Tc 99m teboroxime.1(pp844-846) The isotope number appears in the same type (not superscript) as the rest of the drug name, and it is not preceded by a hyphen. A few commonly used drugs appear below. For drugs not listed here, consult the most recent edition of the USP Dictionary.1

cyanocobalamin Co 60

fibrinogen I 125

fludeoxyglucose F 18

gallium citrate Ga 67

indium In 111 altumomab pentetate

indium In 111 satumomab pentedine

iodohippurate sodium I 131

potassium bromide Br 82

sodium iodide I 125

Strontium chloride 89 can be used to treat pain from skeletal metastases.

In an earlier study, 50 patients underwent lung imaging with technetium Tc 99m sulfur colloid.

The patient underwent an exercise stress test with injection of thallous chloride Tl 201 (thallium stress test).

In a discussion that does not refer to administration of a specific drug, the more general term may be used.

For a patient recuperating from a myocardial infarction who wishes to begin an exercise program, a treadmill test with or without thallium imaging may be useful to determine whether the patient is at high risk for recurrent ischemia.

At the beginning of a sentence, the name rather than the element symbol should be used.

The patient was treated with sodium iodide I 131 after she was found to have hyperthyroidism. Iodine 131 levels were then monitored by measuring the amount of radioactivity in the patient’s urine.

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