Iodine 131 MIBG Therapy Information Sheet

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What is Iodine 131 MIBG Therapy?

Iodine131 MIBG targets certain types of cancer including neuroblastoma, pheochromocytomas paragangliomas and carcinoid tumours.

Why must I stay in hospital?

You will be receiving a dose of radioactive Iodine intravenously through a cannula placed in your arm or hand. This requires you to remain in isolation within the hospital. It is important that you do not leave your room for the duration of your stay.

How do I prepare for the MIBG Therapy?

With this letter, you will have received a vial of Lugol’s solution and an instruction sheet on how to take the Lugol’s. The Iodine131 MIBG would naturally be absorbed into the thyroid, this is undesirable. The Lugol’s solution will prevent the Iodine131 MIBG being absorbed into the thyroid. Please follow the instructions on the attached sheet.

If you are a woman of child bearing age, you will be required to undergo a pregnancy test on the morning of the therapy. If you haven’t received a pathology request with this information you should contact the Nuclear Medicine department at least 3 days prior to your treatment date, to collect your pathology pregnancy test referral letter.

What happens before I receive the therapy?

A Nuclear Medicine Scientist and a Nuclear Physician will explain the procedure to you and answer your questions. Your hospital room will be fitted with sheets, blankets, cutlery and hospital gowns for you. The Nuclear Medicine Scientist will insert the cannula into your arm or hand and set up the infusion line and a syringe driver. Our doctor will then gain your consent and start the infusion by using the syringe driver. Your isolation time will begin immediately. The infusion will take approximately 30 min to complete. The Nuclear Medicine Scientist will then return approx. 2 hrs after the infusion has finished to remove cannula and infusion equipment.

What happens when I am in isolation?

Most of the Iodine131 MIBG will be taken up by the cancer/s within the first 24 hours. Some will exit your body through fluids such as saliva, sweat and urine. We recommend that you wear a hospital gown during your stay to prevent the contamination of your personal clothing. You will notice that the toilet will flush for a long period of time, in order to remove all traces of contaminated urine. Two bins will be provided, and labelled for your convenience.

What about my meals?

Your meals will be delivered to your room and left outside your door. You may open the door to collect your meals. It is important to use plastic cutlery, and dispose them in the appropriately marked bins.

Can I have visitors?

Having visitors is not advised, however if necessary may stay for a maximum of 10 minutes, and must maintain a safe distance from you and be seated near the door. Pregnant women and children are NOT permitted to visit in any circumstance.

How long do I have to stay in isolation?

The level of radiation in your body will be monitored by our physicist. The length of your stay will vary depending on the quantity of administered dose and your body’s response to the therapy.

Do I require a scan?

Sometimes your doctor will require a scan of your body after your treatment, before you leave the hospital. Your doctor will inform you if this is the case.

What are the risks of Iodine131 MIBG Therapy?

Iodine131 MIBG Therapy is a radioactive medication. It produces a higher radiation dose than many diagnostic imaging scans or tests. However, your doctor has weighed up the benefits and risks and has decided that the benefits of the treatment outweigh any risks. It should be noted that this is a relatively establish procedure and the radiation dose varies from patient to patient depending on their condition.

What happens when I go home?

When you are discharged from hospital, your body will still contain a small amount of radiation.

The following precautions are advised for one week following your treatment:

  • Keep a distance of 2 metres between yourself and any children and pregnant women
  • Do not participate in any intimate activities
  • Sleep in a separate bed away from others, and do not share linen
  • Do not share cutlery, and wash it separately to others
  • Do not share your toothbrush
  • Flush the toilet twice

Can I have this therapy while I am pregnant or breast feeding?

It is not recommended that you receive this therapy while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are currently pregnant or think you may be pregnant OR are currently breastfeeding and your doctor has referred you for this therapy please call the Nuclear Medicine Scientists to discuss your options.

It is important to bring any previous test results and your Medicare card with you

Please feel free to call us on 6244 2439 if you have any questions or to reschedule


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