Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Safety Update

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Magnetic resonance contrast agents, particularly the gadolinium-based agents, are extremely safe and lack the nephrotoxicity associated with iodinated contrast media. Currently, seven gadolinium agents are available in one or more countries of the world, of which only four are available for clinical use in the United States. Minor adverse effects associated with each of these agents occur infrequently and include nausea, headache, and taste perversion. Whereas the gadolinium agents cannot be differentiated on the basis of these mild adverse effects, recent studies have brought to light the issue of chelate stability, and in particular, clinical observations associated with the least stable of these agents. This review briefly discusses the most recent safety issues concerning the gadolinium agents. A brief review of safety issues concerning the non-gadolinium agents is also provided.

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