Efficacy

Intramuscular iodine injections Numerous studies have confirmed that iodine supplementation by injection before a woman becomes pregnant can prevent endemic cretinism and that a single injection can prevent goitre for up to 3-4 years. Other documented benefits of maternal supplementation observed in several controlled studies include reduced infant and young-child mortality, improved birth weight, and better manual function in children born to iodine-supplemented mothers.

Oral iodized oil Although efficacious, injections of iodized oil have largely been replaced by oral iodized oil owing to the concern over the AIDS pandemic and use of needles as well as the higher cost of supplies (syringes) and personnel (skilled injectors). Oral delivery of iodized oil appears to be as effective as intramuscular injection but is less costly, carries no infection risk (through a contaminated needle), is painless, and can be administered by untrained personnel. Oral iodized oil is considered to be safe for pregnant women and can be given at any time during pregnancy; however, it appears to protect against moderate and severe neurological abnormalities in the infant only when given during the first two trimesters. The best outcomes are likely to occur when supplementation is given during the first trimester, but even if it is given in late pregnancy or to the infant after birth slight improvements in brain growth and developmental quotients, but not neurological status, are evident.

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