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Gadolinium Contrast Lawsuits

November 13 2018 | Blog
  • Lawsuits related to adverse health effects of gadolinium are hitting courts across the country after the development of serious symptoms that look a lot like heavy metal poisoning. Gadolinium is a chemical element – a heavy metal – used in contrast agents also called contrast “dyes” or “media”. These are drugs administered intravenously into a patient’s body before an MRI scan.

    Why Gadolinium May Be Dangerous

    In December 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcement and a warning with regards to undesirable and dangerous side-effects that gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) may have on a patient’s body and health. The warning mentioned that gadolinium may be retained in “in patients’ bodies, including the brain, for months to years after receiving these drugs”. FDA advised medical personnel to exert special care and consideration before administering GBCAs to patients with a high risk of gadolinium retention. Such patients may include:

    • patients requiring multiple lifetime doses
    • patients with inflammatory conditions
    • patients with kidney problems
    • pregnant women
    • children

    However, it is important to note that toxic gadolinium retention may occur in completely healthy patients as well. The FDA announced that it would require manufacturers “to conduct human and animal studies to further assess the safety of these contrast agents”.

    Symptoms of Gadolinium Poisoning

    Gadolinium retention in the body, especially in the brain, may lead to gadolinium deposition disease (GDD). According to one specialist journal, GDD may manifest itself as “a wide spectrum of adverse effects” such as:

    • renal failure
    • acute pancreatitis
    • severe necrotizing pancreatitis
    • gadolinium-induced encephalopathy

    These are all extremely serious conditions that may lead to severe illness or even death. These severe effects of gadolinium may “occur within hours to days of gadolinium-based contrast agent administration”.

    Other less severe symptoms that may be related to gadolinium retention include:

    • brain fog
    • persistent headache
    • bone or joint pain
    • painful and thickened tendons and ligaments
    • skin thickening
    • itches or rashes

     

    Gadolinium Lawsuits

    Previously, lawsuits related to severe side-effects of gadolinium were seen only in cases where a gadolinium-based contrast agent had been administered to patients with renal failure. In March of 2013, a jury in Ohio awarded $5 million to a patient who had experienced adverse effects after being administered Omniscan, a gadolinium-based contrast agent manufactured by GE Healthcare.

    Since a growing body of evidence suggests that dangerous symptoms related to gadolinium retention in the body may also occur in healthy patients without any preexisting conditions, more and more people are deciding to file gadolinium-related lawsuits. Recently, there have been attempts to consolidate a number of individual lawsuits into a multi-district litigation but last month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided against the consolidation. Lawsuits will now proceed to be reviewed on a case by case basis in the district courts in which they are filed.

    For more information about Gadolinium lawsuits, click here.

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