Xenon Xe 133 (Inhalation)

Xenon Xe 133 is a radiopharmaceutical drug that is used to diagnose a variety of lung problems and diseases via imaging. This medicine is a gas breathed in through the mouth.


Xenon Xe 133 is used as a diagnosis tool by doctors in order to examine the lungs through CT scans or other x-ray tests. It is a readily diffusible gas that is capable of passing through cell membranes, allowing doctors to study pulmonary function and to image the lungs. It can also be applied for assessment of cerebral blood flow.

As a gaseous radioactive agent, Xenon Xe 133 can be utilized with a CT scan or other forms of x-ray test in a controlled environment for diagnosis and examination of the lungs. It is also used by doctors to monitor the blood flow to the brain, depending upon the needs of the patient.

Xenon Xe 133 Gas is both physiologically and chemically similar to elemental xenon (Xe), a non-radioactive gas which is physiologically inert except for anesthetic properties at high doses. The radioactive element of Xenon Xe 133 comes from its production, as the drug is produced by fission of Uranium U 235.

Radiopharmaceuticals can only be used by physicians who are qualified and experienced in the use of the drug, and in controlled environments due to the nature of radionuclides. Xenon Xe 133 gas that enters circulation from a single breath is returned to the lungs and exhaled after passing through the peripheral circulatory system, making it a short-term form of monitoring.

Conditions Treated

  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary emphysema
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Carcinoma of the lung
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Cerebrovascular disease

Type of Medicine

  • Diagnostic Aid
  • Radioactive

Side Effects

There are no known side or adverse effects recorded of the use of Xenon Xe 133 as a diagnostic aid. Most patients experience no side effects of this drug. However, there are several potential side effects of which incidence is not known.

These side effects are based on the respiratory inhalation of Xenon Xe 133, that can potentially result in a variety of different side effects including coughing, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, tightness in the chest, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Due to the nature of Xenon Xe 133's usage for the diagnosis of various lung-based conditions, the cause may not be the drug itself but rather the disease that Xenon Xe 133 reveals.

In addition, patients should be aware of other potential side effects, including a faster heartbeat, hives, itching, puffiness or swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue, a skin rash, unusual tiredness and other physical exhaustion.

If any of the above symptoms are experienced, or anything else out of the ordinary is noted following the use of Xenon Xe 133, medical attention should be sought immediately to ensure wellbeing.


Due to the radioactive nature and diagnostic purpose of Xenon Xe 133 Gas, this drug is only to be administered by trained and qualified professionals prior to certain diagnostic testing. Preparation of Xenon Xe 133 includes measurement of the final patient dose by a suitable radioactivity calibration system prior to administration.

The minimum recommended dosage for Xenon Xe 133 Gas is 74 megabecquerels (2 millicuries), with the average inhalation amount for adult and adolescent administered activity being between 74 megabecquerels to 1.1 gigabecquerels (2 to 30 millicuries) per 3 liters of air for pulmonary studies and imaging purposes.

For pediatric administration, dosage should be individualized by the physician to match requirements, with the minimum recommended dosage being 74 megabecquerels (2 millicuries) for effective diagnosis. Beyond this, the amount used should be dependent on the weight and age of the patient as decided by their physician

For the usage of Xenon Xe 133 in the diagnosis and examination of cerebral blood flow, rather than lung-based diagnosis, 370 to 1110 megabecquerels (10 to 30 millicuries) is the recommended dosage for an average patient 70kg of weight.

For all applications and requirements listed above, Xenon Xe 133 gas can be administered as a bolus into the tubing near the patient's mouthpiece/mask after the completion of a tidal exhalation, or by rebreathing for a period of approximately five minutes.

Due to the physician-based administration of Xenon Xe 133 Gas, there is no requirement for this drug to be taken outside the listed circumstances. However, should the patient receive a higher dosage than anticipated or receive Xenon Xe 133 outside the recommended circumstances, resulting in side effects, either 911 or the FDA (1-800-FDA-1088) should be contacted in order to record these issues.


Many drugs can interact with other drugs within the human body, which can lead to changing effects of medication and even additional side effects that can cause the medication to become ineffective or even cause harm to the patient.

Patients and physicians should keep an up-to-date list of all medications and diagnostic drugs currently in use in order to prevent issues with negative drug interaction.

It's critical that the patient's doctor is aware of every drug within their system, from long-term medication to over the counter drugs, and makes their doctor aware of their current and recent medication usage to ensure effective treatment that is less likely to cause harm.

There are no known drug interactions for Xenon Xe 133 Gas. However, patients should remain vigilant of any side effects or differences physically and psychologically that may appear following the usage of the drug for diagnostic purposes. Always consult and discuss your worries with your doctor both prior to diagnostic testing and after diagnosis to ensure that there is a low chance of negative drug interactions.


Though relatively harmless when used in diagnostic testing, Xenon Xe 133 is a radiopharmaceutical drug and therefore carries the warnings of all radioactive material. There are no known side effects or drug interactions of the drug, but patients should always consult with their physician prior to the taking of Xenon Xe 133 in order to have a further understanding of the undertaking and purpose of using the gas for diagnosis.

The system of delivery for Xenon Xe 133 Gas, such as respirators or spirometers, must be well maintained and leak-proof in order to avoid loss of radioactivity into the laboratory environs that are not protected by exhaust systems.

Xenon Xe 133 Gas also adheres to various plastics and rubber and therefore shouldn't be allowed to remain or stand in tubing or respirator containers. Not following these care procedures may result in loss of radioactivity, rendering studies performed with this equipment as nondiagnostic in nature.

All radiopharmaceutical drugs, including Xenon Xe 133 Gas, must be handled with care and appropriate safety measures as a radioactive material, in order to minimize radiation exposure to clinical personnel. In addition, care should be taken in order to minimize possible radiation exposure to patients.

Both inhaled and exhaled Xenon Xe 133 Gas should be controlled in a manner that is in compliance with the appropriate regulations of the government agency authorized to license the use of radionuclides.

It is unknown whether the use of Xenon Xe 133 Gas can cause fetal harm upon administration to a pregnant woman, or if it can affect reproduction capacity. Xenon Xe 133 Gas should only be given during pregnancy if absolutely needed in order to negate any potential risks.


Xenon Xe 133 Gas should be stored at a carefully controlled room temperature (68° to 77°F) in order to maintain the quality and standard required for accurate diagnosis an effective vision of x-rays. The drug should only be accessible to trained and qualified physicians for use in diagnostic testing, and never readily available to patients for at home use or otherwise.

The storage and disposal of containers and equipment involved in the usage of Xenon Xe 133 should be performed as per the appropriate requirements for radiopharmaceutical drugs and other radioactive agents in order to ensure the safety of both patients and medical staff involved both in stock and the diagnosis process.


Xenon Xe 133 is developed for use as a diagnosis tool for the examination of the lungs through various x-ray tests. As a form of diagnosis with very few known side effects and drug interactions, it is the ideal solution for the diagnosis of a variety of diseases and illnesses without affecting already active drugs or treatments being taken by the patient.

In addition, the radioactive agent allows physicians to perfect diagnoses in a relatively risk-free environment that is quick and painless to the patient. While Xenon Xe 133 may require special storage and additional training for its use, in this case the benefits outweigh the costs of usage, especially with the addition of diagnoses for cerebral blood flow that can provide support for the diagnosis of cerebral diseases.

Xenon Xe 133 allows a less invasive form of diagnosis for lung diseases; when used correctly in combination with effective treatment the use of the radiopharmaceutical drugs can reduce the time required for effective diagnosis and treatment.

Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018