Earlier this year the FDA released an alert about gadolinium-based contrast agents, announcing its decision to ask all manufacturers of these agents to place black-box warnings on these contrast agents. Gadolinium-based contrast agents are used by diagnosticians to heighten the image quality of a magnetic resonance image (MRI).
The announced black box warning in May of 2007 came as a result of growing concerns over the injuries that the contrast agents have caused in patients who are in moderate to end stage kidney disease. Gadolinium-based contrast agents are linked in these particular patients to a disease termed nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.
There are five approved gadolinium-based contrast agents by the FDA: Magnevist, MultiHance, Omniscan, OptiMARK, and ProHance. There have been over two hundred cases worldwide reported of NSF/NFD. Patients who are considering use of contrast agents should consider screening for kidney problems before being treated with these contrast agents.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.