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The Danger of Gadolinium Contrast Dye Used During MRIs

The use of gadolinium dyes during MRI scans can cause a serious illness

You consent to an MRI so that you could have an accurate diagnosis of your medical condition. What you didn’t know at the time was that the gadolinium contract dye used during your MRI could hurt you.

What is Gadolinium Contrast Dye and What Side Effects Can It Cause?

Gadolinium contrast dye is used during MRIs to improve the visibility of the internal body structures.

The problem with gadolinium contrast dye is that it has been linked nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) is a serious ailment that involves fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. NSF is a progressive disorder that is associated with gadolinium-based contrasting agents used for Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA).

NSF usually develops two to 18 months after the MRI. The first symptoms are elevated blood pressure, mild headaches, nausea, and dizziness as well as itching, burning and swelling in the arms and legs. As symptoms progress, the skin starts to harden and turn shiny. It may have red patches. NSF can spread to the arms, chest, and abdomen. It may affect internal organs. Victims develop raised, yellow spots on their eyes. When NSF affects the lungs, it can cause breathing problems. The damage is irreversible.

Every known case of NSF has occurred after and MRI or MRA with a gadolinium-based dye.

How NSF Is Diagnosed

In order to receive proper treatment, it is important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. NSF is usually diagnosed by:

  • Physical exam. During the physical exam, a doctor will look for signs and symptoms of the disease. They will most likely look for a history of MRI using gadolinium contrast dye.
  • Sample of tissue. A biopsy will be taken from the skin and muscle and be tested for nephrogenic system fibrosis.

Other testing may also be recommended by your doctor.

Treatment for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis

There is no cure for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. The only option for those who suffer from it is to treat it. Common ways that nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is treated include:

  • Physical therapy. Patients undergo physical exercise to help stretch the involved limbs in order to slow the progression of joint contractures and preserve movement.
  • Ultraviolet A phototherapy. Exposure of the skin to ultraviolet A light can help reduce thickening and hardening of the skin.
  • Reduced EPO dosage. For those who have nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, reducing doses of erythropoietin (EPO) can help.
  • Kidney transplant. A kidney transplant will improve the renal function. Improvement of renal function may help to improve nephrogenic systemic fibrosis over time.

In addition to your physical recovery, you may also benefit from a legal recovery.

Pharmaceutical Injury Lawyers Have Helped Those Hurt by Gadolinium Dye

The pharmaceutical class action lawyers at Hupy and Abraham helped NSF patients find accountability and justice through gadolinium injury lawsuits. These suits were brought against the makers of the five gadolinium-based contrasting agents approved for use in the United States:

  • Bayer Healthcare, the maker of Magnevist (gadopentetate dimeglumine)
  • Bracco, the manufacturer of MultiHance (gadobenate dimeglumine) and ProHance (gadoteridol)
  • GE Healthcare, the maker of Omniscan (gadodiamide)
  • Mallinckrodt, the maker of OptiMARK (gadoversetamide)

These lawsuits alleged that the drug companies failed to properly research potential side-effects of their product and neglected to warn doctors and the public about potential risks.

We know that lawsuits didn’t stop NSF from hurting patients, but the compensation from a suit could help ease the financial burden associated with the condition. If you have been hurt by a specific medication, then it is important to learn more about your rights and potential recovery. Please browse our website for additional information.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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