Can radiation risks to patients be reduced without reducing radiation exposure? The status of chemical radioprotectants

Fred A. Mettler, David Brenner, C. Norman Coleman, Joseph Michael Kaminski, Ann R. Kennedy, Louis K. Wagner

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Medical radiation exposure has increased sixfold since 1980 and is the largest controllable source of exposure. Many efforts have been devoted to reducing dose or eliminating unnecessary examinations but with limited success. The concern regarding nuclear terrorism has focused a large amount of attention on radioprotective drugs. The purpose of this article is twofold: to review the current concepts, potential, and limitations of chemical radioprotectants in reducing stochastic and deterministic effects and to assess the potential application to diagnostic and interventional medical radiation procedures. CONCLUSION. There are a wide variety of chemical compounds that have been studied for radioprotective effects. Although there is promising research, chemical radioprotectants have not been shown to be very effective and, with one limited exception, are not the standard of care in medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-618
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2011



  • Chemical radioprotectants
  • Radiation risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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