Pharmacies across the nation have seen more people asking about potassium iodide as fears over radiation traveling from Japan continue to progress.
Potassium Iodide is usually used to counter the effects of radiation on the thyroid. It is commonly prescribed for "thyrotoxicosis."
According to D&H Drugstore pharmacy intern Jim Arth, the FDA has been telling pharmacies the drug is not necessary. Its advice comes on the heels of a speech by President Barack Obama that stressed Americans need not to worry about a radiation threat.
Those warnings however, have not stopped customers.
Arth said on Saturday he recieved five inquiries about the drug. He typically gets none.
Arth predicted that pharmacies in the midwest are probably getting anywhere from five to 20 inquiries a day.
"Pretty much every year, there's one media-interest disease...that is filtered down into the pharmacies," Arth said.
D&H only provides potassium iodide to people who have prescriptions, but it does give the drug to Clovers Natural Market for over-the-counter sales. As of Friday, Clovers on East Broadway said potassium iodide was out of stock.
The store was also out of kelp, another product that contains iodine useful for combating radiation.
While the radiation scare has caused extra work for Arth at his pharmacies, he said he welcomes informing people at a time where there is a lot of confusion.
"There's little risk, but it's good to ask questions," Arth said.