Fludeoxyglucose F18 (intravenous)


What is Fludeoxyglucose F18?

Medical professionals will be familiar with the marketing names Gludef and Metatrace FDG used to refer to Fludeoxyglucose F18 solution for injection. This drug is used in medical imaging, specifically during a PET scan procedure. As a radioactive substance, Fludeoxyglucose F18, once injected, concentrates itself in the glucose found in the body's tissues. This concentration helps the radiologist or nuclear medical physician better read a three dimensional image provided by a PET scan.

How does Fludeoxyglucose F18 work?

A PET scan, also known as a positron-emission tomography imaging system, is a three dimensional imaging system used in the diagnosis of various diseases. Most commonly, cancer or the metastasis of cancer are best seen via PET scan. By concentrating the body's cells with Fludeoxyglucose F18, the area under scan will display this radioactive tracer and indicate any activity that helps in the diagnosis. In addition to the oncology uses for PET scan, it is also used for diagnosis of dementia, brain diseases and cardiac disease.

A PET scan that uses Fludeoxyglucose F18 is often referred to as a FDG-PET procedure by medical professionals. Malignant tumors have a characteristic that makes the uptake of Fludeoxyglucose higher than other cells, which provides an accurate PET image of the area of concern.

Conditions Treated

  • Epileptic seizures
  • Cancers
  • Symptomatic left ventricular ejection
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease

Type Of Medicine

  • Glucose analog concentration
  • Radiopharmaceutical
  • Radioactive agent

Side Effects

While in the body to provide a better picture of cellular activity involving high amounts of glucose, Fludeoxyglucose F18 may cause adverse health effects that should be reported to your physician right away, as they may be the sign of a dangerous health condition requiring immediate medical attention. Let your doctor know right away if you have the following symptoms:

  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Itchy, rashy skin
  • Hives
  • Nausea
  • Skin redness near the ears
  • Swollen face, nasal passages or eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Weak muscles

Other side effects are merely annoying but temporary in nature as the drug leaves your body. Let your doctor know if you experience the following so that you can be provided relief from your symptoms: injection site cold feeling, discoloration, blisters, blood, tenderness or swelling.

Other side effects may still occur in some patients. If you have any changes in your overall health after you have been injected with Fludeoxyglucose F18 for a PET scan procedure, let your health care provider know right away.


Fludeoxyglucose F18 is used only for medical imaging purposes and is administered by trained health care professionals in a hospital or clinic.

For an adult weighing at least 70 kg, 5 to 10 millicurie amounts are injected via intravenous route to study any malignancy, epilepsy or cardiology concerns. Pediatric patients receive 2.6 millicurie adjusted for their particular body mass.


Fludeoxyglucose F18 is can have unexpected effects on the body that are sometimes dangerous. Discuss all effects of Fludeoxyglucose F18 with your health care advisors prior to treatment and let them know of any other medications you are currently taking. Include all information on non-prescription and prescription medication and even holistic, herbal and vitamin supplements.

Discuss the use of Fludeoxyglucose F18 agent drugs in conjunction with tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs with your health care professional in case of unwanted drug interactions. If you have had any previous hypersensitivity to other medications, animals, additives or dyes, inform your health care provider of this prior to your scan.

Patients who have diabetes may not be able to have a PET scan using Fludeoxyglucose F18, as their bodies consume glucose differently.


You will most likely be told to fast, including any beverages but clear water, for a four to six hour period prior to your scan. This is to stabilize the glucose levels in the blood to provide a better chance for the Fludeoxyglucose F18 to penetrate the glucose-starved cells of your body. After the scan, most patients experience frequent urination for one hour, which is normal and rids the body of the radioactive agent.

In the interest of providing safe, effective care, your medical team will inform you of any information you need to be aware of prior to use of Fludeoxyglucose F18 during your PET scan. As the test itself is about protecting your health and providing care, use of Fludeoxyglucose F18 certainly outweighs most risks and side effects.

If you've ever experienced any allergic symptoms to another drug, make sure you tell your health care team. Additionally, allergies to animals, dyes, foods or preservatives should also be made known to your medical team.

As far as use of Fludeoxyglucose F18 in pediatric patients goes, no specific studies have been made available that indicate that there could be more severe or unexpected side effects or issues in patients of a young age with regard to a cancer or heart disease imaging process. Children who are being scanned for epilepsy have been studied and it has been determined that this age group can have a useful PET scan using Fludeoxyglucose F18. Different dosages may be necessary and based on body mass.

Geriatric patients have not been studied for effectiveness or problems with regard to their age and use of Fludeoxyglucose F18.

Women who are pregnant and women who are breastfeeding have not been studied to determine if they are putting their infants at risk by being injected with Fludeoxyglucose F18 or having a PET scan. Each case must be individually evaluated to determine if the procedure is absolutely necessary before taking the risk.

Fludeoxyglucose F18 may not be transported within the cells of patients who have diabetes at the same rate or in the same manner as patients without this disease. It is imperative that diabetic patients have their glucose levels at a stable level the day prior to and the day of their Fludeoxyglucose F18 injection and PET scanning.

In order to minimize how much Fludeoxyglucose F18 is absorbed by your bladder during the test, you should drink more water than normal for the four hours prior to the test procedure. Urinate as soon as the test is complete and as often as possible after for the next hour at least.

Fludeoxyglucose F18 is radioactive and requires the use of effective shielding and clothing to remain safe during the test. Your medical staff will control this aspect of the test, providing a safe environment for both you and them.


Fludeoxyglucose F18 is only administered in a professional medical setting, such as a hospital or clinic, so storage is not up to the patient with these types of contrast agents.

However, it is advised by the manufacturers that Fludeoxyglucose F18 and other contrast agents are to be stored at room temperature and kept away from sources of light. Proper safety procedures should be followed in accordance with manufacturer's instruction and with local governmental regulations regarding the storage, use and disposal of radioactive materials.


Fludeoxyglucose F18 is an injected medication that saturates cells that use high concentrations of glucose, thereby providing a high contrast image to radiologists and other medical professionals during a procedure known as a PET scan.

PET scan images are useful in detecting cancer, the spread of cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, dementia and other diseases. Fludeoxyglucose F18 concentrates itself into the areas that are using high amounts of glucose, which are typically cancer sites. Patients are exposed to radiation during this procedure, so all safety precautions should be taken during imaging.

Dosage of Fludeoxyglucose F18 is based on body mass, as well as the patient's current health condition. There are no restrictions on usefulness with regard to age or medical conditions with the exception of diabetic patients, whose bodies may use glucose differently than other patients. Patients will be advised to fast for four to six hours before their PET scan and the administration of Fludeoxyglucose F18, but will be encouraged to drink water. Frequent urination is encouraged after the test to avoid the bladder absorbing too much of the agent.

Side effects are typically minimal, with the most complicated being pain or infection at the injection site. If the patient experiences any changes in their overall health after a PET scan using Fludeoxyglucose F18, they should notify their health care provider right away.