What are the side effects?
Typically, there are no side effects of these radiopharmaceuticals to the patient.
How does it work?
The radiopharmaceuticals will localize to specific areas in the body, allowing the radiologists who interpret these nuclear medicine studies to determine the extent of the disease based on physiology rather than only physical changes in the tissue. The administration of the radiopharmaceutical may involve ingestion, injection or inhalation of the material. This makes the patient the source of radiation and not an external device that will send X-rays through the patient.
Once administered, the patient will be imaged on a device called a “gamma camera,” which collects the emitted radiation to form a picture. In essence, the nuclear medicine picture is much like that of a newspaper as it contains many dots; each dot representing a radiation event. These pictures are often of a longer duration as they collect that radiation.