Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body.
These radioactive materials called radiotracers are typically injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed. The radiotracer travels through the area being examined and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays which are detected by a special camera and a computer to create images of the inside of your body. Because nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages as well as a patient’s immediate response to therapeutic interventions.
Nuclear pharmacy compounding is an integral part of pharmacy practice and is essential to the provision of health care and delivery of a cost-effective radiopharmaceutical service. It can be as simple as adding a radioactive liquid to a commercially available reagent kit, or as complex as the creation of a multi-component reagent kit or the synthesis of a radiolabeled compound via a multi-step preparation process.
Standard procedures, best practices, facilities and equipment for the preparation and dispensing of radioactive drugs are essential to any radiopharmacy operation. Although not all radiopharmaceuticals are classified as hazardous drugs, the engineering controls and work practices are intended to ensure the safety of the compounded sterile preparation as well as protect the operator from exposure to radioactivity.