Gadolinium is a Gadolinium-based agent used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other magnetic resonance tests. A contrast agent is a dye which is injected into your body to enhance the images, and make them more readable. Iodine-based contrast agents are known to be toxic to the kidneys but gadolinium is not; however, in patients with renal insufficiency gadolinium has been linked with a debilitating, painful, and sometimes deadly disease known as nephrogenic systemic fibrosis or nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy, or NSF/NFD.
Click to read the report done by Correy E. Stephenson, Lawyers USA:
“Gadolinium litigation heats up”
There are currently five different gadolinium based contrast available in the United States:
The majority of known NSF/NFD cases have been associated with Omniscan and Magnevist.
How gadolinium contributes to NSF/NFD in people with kidney problems
Gadolinium is the 64th element on the periodic table. Although it is in the earth’s surface, in its raw or natural, it is very toxic. When it is used as a contrast agent, it is chelated which means that it is covered and bound to something else so that it can be easily eliminated from the body. Chelating is what makes gadolinium safe to use in people, and prevent it from entering the body’s cells. When your kidneys don’t function properly the gadolinium is not removed quickly, lose its chelating cover and can spread throughout the body causing harm.
Different gadolinium contrast agents
All gadolinium-based contrast agents can potentially cause NSF/NFD, but some carry more risk than others. In some formulations the gadolinium is more likely to become unbound from the chelate, and therefore more likely to cause harm.
The five gadolinium based contrast agents being used today are made by four companies:
- GE Healthcare (General Electric) – Omniscan
- Mallinckrodt (Tyco Healthcare) – OptiMARK
- Berlex Imaging (Bayer Healthcare) – Magnevist
- Bracco Diagnostics – Multihance, Prohance
GE Healthcare, part of General Electric, makes Omniscan (gadodiamide). Omniscan is used in MRI of the brain, spine, and associated tissues, and in the trunk of the body including the chest, abdominal, and pelvic cavities, but not the heart. As a contrast agent, it aids in detecting lesions with abnormal vascularity or lesions causing abnormalities in the blood-brain barrier. It is the gadolinium based contrast agent associated with the most cases of NSF/NFD.
Mallinckrodt is the unit of Tyco Healthcare which produces OptiMARK (gadoversetamide). OptiMARK is used in MRI of the Brain, spine, and associated tissues, and the liver. Like Omniscan, it aids in detecting lesions with abnormal vascularity or lesions causing abnormalities in the blood-brain barrier.
Berlex Imaging, part of Bayer Healthcare, makes Magnevist (gadopentetate dimeglumine), and was the first company ever to produce a contrast agent for MRI. Magnevist is used to view lesions with abnormal vascularity in the brain, spine, and associated tissues, head, neck, and body, but not the heart. It is used in children two years old and alder and in adults.
Both MultiHance (gadobenate dimeglumine) and ProHance (gadoteridol) are produced by Bracco Diagnostics, Inc.
Multihance is used in MRIs to detect lesions with abnormal vascularity in the brain, spine, and associated tissues, and to view lesions causing abnormal blood brain barrier.
ProHance is also used to view lesions with abnormal vascularity in the brain, spine, and associated tissues, and is used in children two years old and older, as well as adults. Additionally, it is used in adults to view lesions in the head and neck.
If you believe you have developed NSF, we strongly advise you to contact your physician for an examination which may involve a skin biopsy. If you are, in fact, diagnosed with NSF then you may want to talk with an lawyer in order to protect your legal rights. Burg Simpson is here to help you. We take cases on a contingency basis, which means that we are paid only if we bring about a recovery for our clients. We have already retained national experts in assist us with your case. Contact us now to schedule your free confidential consultation with our experienced NSF lawyers.