A growing number of reports are coming out of patients experiencing severe symptoms associated with Gadolinium Deposition Disease following the use of GBCAs during simple MRI procedures. This drug, used to make internal imaging more clear, is toxic to humans in its raw form.
If you are experiencing symptoms of gadolinium exposure, the attorneys at Steinger, Iscoe & Greene are here for you.
Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents, or GBCAs, are drugs commonly used during diagnostic imaging procedures. These drugs are administered intravenously to raise the quality of an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or MRA (magnetic resonance angiography).
MRIs are used to display the internal structure of the body using magnetic fields and radio waves. Coiled wires create a brief magnetic field in the body of the patient, and radio waves are sent from a transmitter and receiver pair in the machine. These signals are what create the digital images of the body.
Gadolinium comes into play to alter the contrast of this digital image. It is a rare earth metal that becomes a dye to make seeing a patient’s soft tissue easier. This heightened contrast allows healthcare professionals to easily pinpoint any abnormalities, such as tumors.
Gadolinium is supposed to be flushed out of the patient’s body using their renal system. The kidneys should turn it into waste and filter it out via urine. However, trace amounts of gadolinium can be retained in the body. If these retained deposits remain in the patients bones or brain for a long period of time post-procedure, it can cause gadolinium deposition disease.
Gadolinium alone is very toxic to humans, so it’s combined with other agents to make it safer for use. Once these agents are added, these GBCAs are either linear or macrocyclic. The difference between the two is in their chemical composition. Linear GBCAs are associated with higher retention rates and longer retention times post-procedure than macrocyclic ones.
The following GBCAs are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are used today during MRIs:
When gadolinium is retained in a patient’s body after a procedure and it causes negative side effects, it’s referred to as gadolinium deposition disease. This happens because over time, gadolinium can separate from its protective agents in the body. The Gadolinium is once again toxic, which can lead to NSF, or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.
This happens the most frequently in patients who are pregnant, have already compromised kidney function, have an abnormally large number of MRIs, or have inflammatory conditions. The FDA asserts that there is not enough clear evidence to connect GBCAs in healthy patients to causing this disease, but a growing number of complaints are coming to the surface.
If you have experienced one or more of the following symptoms after exposure to gadolinium, it may be a sign of NSF or gadolinium deposition disease. These side effects have been reported by those affected by GBCAs:
There is currently no cure or treatment for gadolinium deposition disease; there is only treatment for the symptoms accompanying it.
There have been a series of safety precautions pinned to GBCAs over the past decade by the FDA and the medicine’s manufacturers.
In September of 2010, the FDA released a statement warning that Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents were dangerous to any patients with a history of kidney failure. In July of 2015, they added to this Drug Safety Communication, reporting that they were investigating the risk of GBCAs forming deposits of gadolinium in the brain of patients exposed to GBCAs.
Following this investigation, the FDA released a Drug Safety Communication in December 2017 requiring GBCAs to have class warnings no the retention of gadolinium in the body post-injection. They reported that this warning followed consultation with the Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee on the necessity of advising consumers on the possibility of GBCAs being retained in the body for long amounts of time.
In May of 2018 the manufacturers of GBCAs, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Bracco Diagnostics, GE Healthcare, and Guerbet LLC, released a drug warning regarding Gadolinium retention and advising prescribers on the best practices regarding informing patients on the dangers of the products.
If you have experienced severe symptoms aligning with NSF or gadolinium deposition disease following exposure to GBCAs during an MRI procedure, contact us today. Do not let your rights go unprotected. Side effects including but not limited to burning pains, swelling of the limbs, vision trouble, difficulty balancing, or skin thickening may be signs of this disease.
Here at Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, we want you to get the compensation you deserve for your suffering. Do not hesitate to contact us today; there may be a statute of limitations in place that could hinder your case if you wait too long. We will set up a free consultation to review the details of your case and determine the best course of action for you.
There are no upfront costs; we only get paid if your case is successful. Call us at (800) 916-8108 or contact us online today.