What Is Gadolinium Toxicity?

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Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents (GBCA) are a form of intravenous drug commonly used when undertaking magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) scans. GBCAs are injected into a patient’s veins, to improve the quality of image produced by these scans.

Recent lawsuits claim the use of these drugs in MRI and MRA scans has led to side effects including Gadolinium Toxicity, Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), and Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD). Injuries from NSF have been discovered in patients with normal kidney function who were exposed to GBCAs during MRI scans.

While GBCAs have been in use since the 1980s, manufacturers of these contrast agents failed to properly alert healthcare providers to the risk until 2018. If you believe GBCAs used in MRI or MRAs have resulted in gadolinium toxicity or similar side effects, get in touch with TruLaw to see if you’re eligible to file a claim. 

Links Between GBCAs And Medical Conditions 

Gadolinium is used as a contrast agent due to its paramagnetic properties. Injected into a patient’s veins, the gadolinium responds to magnetic resonance during the scan, making the image produced clearer. 

It was assumed that the gladonium compound used during these scans would be safely eliminated from the body by the kidneys. Those with healthy kidney function should find the GBCA is quickly removed. 

However, in 2006 the FDA published a warning linking the use of GBCAs with NSF and Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD) in patients with kidney failure. In 2007, the FDA followed up this initial warning, requesting boxed warnings for GBCAs.

The use of GBCAs during MRI and MRA scans has also been linked to gadolinium deposits on the brain. Due to a lack of clinical studies, the result of these brain deposits is not yet known. However, the FDA has requested further research, and early research indicates a link to extrapyramidal system dysfunction. Research has shown these build ups in patients with healthy kidney function.

Possible Gadolinium Side Effects

The use of gadolinium during MRI scans has been linked to numerous side effects, including headaches and nausea. These symptoms are often felt within minutes of the initial injection, but are likely to fade quickly.

A build up of gadolinium has been linked to severe injuries, including Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, and Gadolinium Deposition Disease.

Gadolinium Toxicity

Those exposed to gadolinium may suffer from headaches, nausea, and dizziness within minutes of injection. Patients might also feel pain or irritation at the injection site, altered tastes, and increased body temperature.

These symptoms typically fade quickly, and shouldn’t cause any lasting harm. 

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (Nsf)

NSF was first detected in patients who were injected with GBCAs but suffered from kidney disease, and therefore struggled to remove the drug from their system.

NSF causes the skin, joints, and internal organs to harden. Fibrosis, the hardening of muscles and tissue to recover from injury, begins to build up at the skin. This fibrosis then progresses to the joints, reducing mobility, before reaching the internal organs.

Symptoms often occur within weeks of exposure to GBCAs, and continue to progress over months.

Gadolinium Deposition Disease (Gdd)

GDD refers to the build up of gadolinium in certain areas of the body. GDD has been detected on the brain, liver, and the bones. Build up of gadolinium has been detected in patients with healthy kidneys, as well as those with impaired renal function.

GDD can cause fibrosis, leading to a thickening of tissue throughout the body. This can result in headaches, brain fog, joint pain, and soft-tissue pain.

Gadolinium Toxicity Lawsuits

Since 2008, lawsuits have been filed by those who have suffered side effects from the use of GBCAs during MRI and MRA scans. 21 lawsuits filed in 12 courts by plaintiffs with normal kidney function before the use of gadolinium were asked to be consolidated, but the request was denied. 

Gadolinium toxicity lawsuits were brought to much greater public attention in 2017, when Gena Norris, wife of actress Chuck Norris, filed a suit. Norris claimed she developed GDD after repeated MRI scans using GBCAs. However, the case was withdrawn by Norris.

Speak to an Attorney About Gadolinium

Finally, if you believe you are suffering side effects due to exposure to gadolinium, speak to your doctor to discuss your options. A urine test can be used to detect the presence of gadolinium in the system, and help you determine a treatment.

Gadolinium toxicity can cause debilitating and costly side effects. If gadolinium is detected in your system, speak to a lawyer about your potential options. 

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