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    Radiopharmaceuticals are unique medicinal formulations containing radioisotopes which are used in major clinical areas for diagnosis and/or therapy. They are radioactive agents employed in nuclear medical field to demonstrate high and exact localization radioactivity into target tissue. The application of definite radiotracers called radiopharmaceuticals for imaging organ function and disease states is an exceptional potential of nuclear medicine. There are many radiation sources used in healthcare system. The differences relate to the position of the radiation source; external beam radiation therapy is outside the body, brachytherapy uses sealed radioactive sources placed precisely in the area under treatment and systemic radioisotopes are given by infusion or oral ingestion.

    Any medicinal or pharmaceutical invention, which when ready for exercise includes one or more radionuclides (radioactive isotopes) meant for human application both for diagnosis or therapy are called Radiopharmaceutical. Radiopharmaceuticals have a short history compared to other drugs and medicinal products. The widespread use of radioactive nuclides for medical applications came as a direct result of the development of the atomic bomb during the Second World War. Recently, however, there has been a significant growth of this branch of nuclear medicine with the introduction of a number of new radionuclides and radio- pharmaceuticals for the treatment of metastatic bone pain, neuroendocrine and other tumours. Today the field of radionuclide therapy is going through an extremely interesting and exciting phase and is poised for greater growth and development in the coming years.

    • Categories: 

    Radiopharmaceuticals can be divided into four categories:

    1. Radiopharmaceutical preparation: A radiopharmaceutical preparation is a medicinal product in a ready-to-use form suitable for human use that contains a radionuclide. The radionuclide is integral to the medicinal application of the preparation, making it appropriate for one or more diagnostic or therapeutic applications.
    2. Radionuclide generator: A system in which a daughter radionuclide (short half-life) is separated by elution or by other means from a parent radionuclide (long half-life) and later used for production of a radiopharmaceutical preparation.
    3. Radiopharmaceutical precursor: A radionuclide produced for the radiolabelling process with a resultant radiopharmaceutical preparation.
    4. Kit for radiopharmaceutical preparation: In general a vial containing the non- radionuclide components of a radiopharmaceutical preparation, usually in the form of a sterilized, validated product to which the appropriate radionuclide is added or in which the appropriate radionuclide is diluted before medical use. Radiopharmaceutical preparations derived from kits are normally intended for use within 12 hours of preparation.
    • Manufacture:

    The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring the quality of his products, and especially for examining preparations of short-lived radionuclides for long-lived impurities after a suitable period of decay. In this way, the manufacturer ensures that the manufacturing processes employed are producing materials of appropriate quality. When the half-life is very short (for example, less than 20 minutes), the administration to the patient is usually on-line within a validated production system.

    • Radionuclide production: In general ways of manufacturing radionuclides for use in radiopharmaceutical preparations are:

    Nuclear fission, Charged particle bombardment, Neutron bombardment, and Radionuclide generator systems.

    • Warning/Caution:

    Adequate shielding must be used to protect laboratory personnel from ionizing radiation. Instruments must be suitably shielded from background radiation.

    • Some Therapeutic & Diagnostic Radiopharmaceuticals Examples:
    • Advantages of Radiopharmaceuticals in Healthcare System:
    • It can be used as diagnosis and treatment of patient.
    • It can provide fast onset of pain relief, single dose is effective for some patients.
    • Can treat multiple disease sites, and it is common to cure cancer especially useful for bone metastasis.
    • Nuclear medicine tests can be performed on children.
    • Nuclear medicine procedures have no side effects and are completely safe.
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