Role of drugs in the prevention and amelioration of radiation induced toxic effects

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As the use of radiation technology for nuclear warfare or for the benefits of mankind (e.g. in radiotherapy or radio-diagnosis) is increasing tremendously, the risk of associated side effects is becoming a cause of concern. These effects, ranging from nausea/vomiting to death, may result from accidental or deliberate exposure and begin in seconds. Through this review paper, efforts have been done to critically review different compounds which have been investigated as radioprotectors and radiation mitigators. Radioprotectors are compounds which are administered just before or at the time of irradiation so as to minimize the radiation induced damage to normal tissues. And radiation mitigators are the compounds which can even minimize or ameliorate post irradiaion-toxicity provided they are administered before the onset of toxic symptoms. A variety of agents have been investigated for their preventive and ameliorative potential against radiation induced toxic effects. This review article has focused on various aspects of the promising representative agents belonging to different classes of radioprotectors and mitigators. Many compounds have shown promising results, but till date only amifostine and palifermin are clinically approved by FDA. To fill this void in pharmacological armamentarium, focus should be shifted towards novel approaches.

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