Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis & MRI Contrast Dyes

Debilitating and life threatening, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (originally called nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy, NFD) is a serious, irreversible skin disease that can develop in those with kidney impairments who have been exposed to MRI contrast agents that contain gadolinium (a metallic element that becomes magnetic when placed within a magnetic field). Injected into patients prior to an imaging test, gadolinium is used to enhance the resulting images so that medical professionals can have a better view of the structure and function of a particular organ.

Although seven gadolinium agents have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to date, the following four gadolinium dyes are associated with the development nephrogenic systemic fibrosis:

  • Magnevist
  • Multihance
  • Omniscan
  • OptiMARK

Who Should NOT Be Exposed to Gadolinium Contrast Dyes

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned doctors against using the above-listed agents in patients with a medical history of:

  • moderate to end-stage kidney disease
  • dialysis (to treat renal failure)
  • a kidney transplant
  • use of immuno-suppressant medications
  • any condition, such as hepatitis C or lupus, that is known to impair kidney function

To minimize the risks of developing nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, it's crucial that patients discuss their complete medical history with their doctor before undergoing an MRI with a gadolinium agent (or any medical procedure/new course of medication).

Symptoms of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis

Patients receiving gadolinium MRI agents should be aware of the symptoms of nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy so they know when to seek medical attention. The earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated, the better prognosis a patient will have. NSF can cause symptoms including:

  • excess pigmentation
  • hand and foot inflammation and blistering
  • hip and rib pain
  • muscle weakness
  • problems extending joints
  • skin inflammation and tightening
  • the development of thickening, hardened masses on the skin (While these masses may star off being red or dark patches of skin, they can develop into shiny, wood-like areas that resemble the look of an orange peel.)
  • sensations of burning, itchiness and pain where these masses develop (Although the face is almost never the site of such masses, the extremities and the torso are commonly effected.)
  • yellow plaque in or near the eyes

For more information or to speak with an attorney about a potential Gadolinium-nephrogenic systemic fibrosis case, please call (866) 459-0066 or contact our NSF lawyers today.

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Gadolinium Contrast Agents Required to Include New Warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a news release Sept. 9, 2010, requiring that contrast agents containing gadolinium carry a new warning on their labels because it can lead to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). Read More »

First Gadolinium Lawsuit Filed in U.S. Court

An Ohio woman has filed what is believed to be the first gadolinium lawsuit, claiming that the MRI dye Magnevist-made by Bayer-caused her 24-year-old son's death.
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Gadolinium-Based MRI Dyes Get Black Box Warning

The Food and Drug Administration has asked that a black box warning be added to all gadolinium-based MRI dyes to highlight the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, or NSF.
Read More »