Demand surges for radiation antidote after Trump's nuclear button tweet

President Donald Trump responded to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear button comments on Twitter last week, causing a large spike in sales for an anti-radiation drug, reports Kaiser Health News.

President Trump tweeted Jan. 2 he had a "much bigger & more powerful" nuclear button on his desk than Mr. Kim, who reportedly said he keeps a nuclear button on his desk at all times.

Demand for potassium iodide, which protects the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine, spiked following the tweet, according to distributor Troy Jones, president of Nukepills.com.

"On Jan. 2, I basically got in a month's supply of potassium iodide and I sold out in 48 hours," Mr. Jones told KHN. During that two-day period, he shipped out about 140,000 doses of potassium iodide, compared to his usual 8,400 doses.

Another major potassium iodide supplier, Anbex, also saw an increased demand after the president's tweet. "We are a wonderful barometer of the level of anxiety in the country," Anbex President Alan Morris told KHN.

While many Americans are buying potassium iodide over fears of a potential nuclear attack, the FDA and CDC do not recommend solely using potassium iodide as an antidote to such a threat. "KI (potassium iodide) cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine — if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective and could cause harm," according to the CDC's website.

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