Gadolinium FAQs

Gadolinium Toxicity

1. What is Gadolinium?

Gadolinium is a rare earth metal that is silvery-white in appearance. Gadolinium is often used in radiography because when used as a metal or salt, it absorbs neutrons. As a phosphor, gadolinium is used in imaging. It emits green light, making it very useful for enhancing the imaging quality of X-rays.

2. What are Gadolinium Side Effects?

Gadolinium has been known to remain in the body after an MRI or X-ray. As a result, it can lead to side effects. Gadolinium can lead to two major medical conditions: nephrogenic systemic fibrosis and gadolinium deposition disease. They can cause kidney failure, darkened skin, shortening of muscles and tendons, bone pain, and pain in the arms and legs.

3. How long does it take for gadolinium to leave your system?

Gadolinium leaves the body via urine output. For those with normal kidney function, the elimination half-life of gadolinium is about two hours. Therefore, it should fully leave your body within four hours.

4. Has the FDA recalled Gadolinium MRI Contrast Dye Agents?

In December 2017, the FDA required a new class warning for contrast agents containing gadolinium. There is concern about gadolinium remaining in patients’ brains and other parts of the body for months to years. However, the use of gadolinium MRI contrast dye agents continues to outweigh any potential risks. The FDA has not recalled these contrast agents at this time.
There are a few requirements, however. Manufacturers must alert health care professionals and patients about the risk of gadolinium retention.Patients must be given a medication guide, which provides educational information. Manufacturers of gadolinium due agents must also conduct human and animal studies to further assess safety.
Europe, however, has taken a stricter approach. The government has suspended and recalled gadodiamide and intravenous gadopentetic acid. Other types of contrast agents are being used on a limited basis only.

5. Are all MRI contrast dye agents unsafe?

No. Health issues such as gadolinium deposition disease have only been linked to linear formulations of gadolinium dye. Other MRI contrast dye agents are safe to use.

6. What is Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD)?

Gadolinium deposition disease (GDD) is a condition that causes those with normal renal function to suddenly develop a variety of symptoms caused by an immune response. Those with a genetic abnormality are most likely to suffer from GDD.
The symptoms include bone pain, burning pain in the tissues and a degree of mental confusion described as “brain fog.” As GDD progresses, it causes skin to thicken and change color. Pain in the arms and legs can also develop. The symptoms can begin within hours, days or even months from the time the person is exposed to gadolinium.

7. How Is Gadolinium Deposition Disease diagnosed?

While blood tests may be used to diagnose gadolinium deposition disease, they are not the most reliable. A 24-hour urine test is the most frequently used.

8. What treatments are available for Gadolinium Deposition Disease?

There are a couple ways in which a person can treat gadolinium deposition disease. Medication such as antihistamines and anti-inflammatories can reduce the severity of symptoms. Immune system therapy and re-chelation are two effective therapies. Targeted host-immune-modulator agents can also be helpful for some.

9. Can I File a Lawsuit for Gadolinium Toxicity?

If you began to suffer from gadolinium deposition disease symptoms shortly after an MRI, you may be eligible for compensation for your damages. Patients have not been properly warned about the risks of gadolinium MRI contrast dyes. Due to this lack of warning, you may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible.
Contact Nadrich& Cohen, LLP to discuss your case by calling 1-800-718-4658, using the live chat feature or completing the “Do I Have A Case?” form on this page.