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MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING CONTRAST AGENTS (Diagnostic)
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) contrast agents (also called paramagnetic agents) are used to help provide a clear picture during MRI. MRI is a special kind of diagnostic procedure. It uses magnets and computers to create images or ``pictures"" of certain areas inside the body. Unlike x-rays, it does not involve ionizing radiation.
MRI contrast agents are given by injection before or during MRI to help diagnose problems or diseases of the brain or the spine. In addition, gadopentetate is used to help diagnose problems in other parts of the body, such as the bones and joints, breast, liver, soft tissues, and uterus. Gadoversetamide is also used to help diagnose problems in the liver.
MRI contrast agents may also be used to diagnose other conditions as determined by your doctor.
MRI contrast agents are injected into a vein. The doses of these agents will be different for different patients depending on the weight of the person.
These agents are to be used only by or under the supervision of a doctor.
Before Having This Test
In deciding to use a diagnostic test, any risks of the test must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. Also, test results may be affected by other things. For MRI contrast agents, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to contrast agents such as gadodiamide, gadopentetate, gadoteridol, or gadoversetamide. Also, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—Studies have not been done in pregnant women. However, in animal studies, MRI contrast agents caused a delay in development of the animal fetus, increased the risk of losing the fetus, and caused birth defects and other side effects in the offspring when these agents were given to the mother in doses many times the human dose. Also, it is not known yet what effect the magnetic field used in MRI might have on the development of the fetus. Be sure you have discussed this with your doctor.
Breast-feeding—It is not known what amount of MRI contrast agents passes into the breast milk. However, your doctor may want you to stop breast-feeding for some time after you receive an MRI contrast agent. Be sure you have discussed this with your doctor.
Children—Although there is no specific information comparing use of MRI contrast agents in children with use in other age groups, these agents are not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than they do in adults.
Older adults—These contrast agents have been tested and have not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than they do in younger adults.
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of MRI contrast agents. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Preparation for This Test
Your doctor may have special instructions for you to get ready for your test, depending on the type of test you are having. If you do not understand the instructions you receive or if you have not received any instructions, check with your doctor ahead of time.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with their needed effects, MRI contrast agents may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Less common or rare
Black, tarry stools; chest pain; confusion; convulsions (seizures); cough; decreased, increased, or painful urination; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; hot, painful, swollen skin; itching, watery eyes; skin rash or hives; spitting or coughing up blood; swelling of face; thickening of tongue; throat spasm; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness (severe); wheezing, tightness in chest, or troubled breathing
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away as your body adjusts to this agent. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Changes in taste; coldness at the place of injection; headache; nausea
unusual warmth and flushing of skin
Less common or rare
Abdominal pain or discomfort; agitation; anxiety; back pain; burning, tingling, or prickly sensation; change in appetite; change in sense of hearing or smell; diarrhea or constipation; dryness of mouth; fever; increased muscle tone; increased salivation; gas, bloating, flatulence; increased watering of mouth; joint pain; muscle pain or spasm; nosebleeds; pain and/or burning sensation at place of injection; pale skin; redness, pain, or swelling of eye; ringing or buzzing in ears; seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are not there; sore throat; stomach pain or upset; stuffy, runny nose or sneezing; swelling of face, hands, lower legs, or feet; thirst; tremor; twisting or other unusual body movements; vision disturbances; vomiting; weakness or tiredness
Not all of the side effects listed above have been reported for each of these agents, but they have been reported for at least one of them. There are some similarities among these agents, so many of the above side effects may occur with any of them.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
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