Gadopentetate (Intravenous)

Overview

Patients who undergo an MRI scan of their brain, neck, head or spine may receive an injection of the contrast agent named Gadopentetate. This solution adds clarity to the picture created by the MRI and provides radiologists with a more effective diagnostic tool. This solution is classed as a gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA). MRIs are often the preferred diagnostic tool, as they do not expose the patient to radiation.

This solution has been known to cause a potentially fatal reaction known as anaphylaxis; patients should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of this condition and notify their medical team immediately if they experience any of them. It is always best practice to remain at the hospital or medical facility until all side effects and symptoms have dissipated and the patient is free of any harmful reactions.

Patients who suffer from serious kidney conditions should not use Gadopentetate, as it may prove fatal. It is important that your doctor is informed of all medical conditions that you are currently being treated for or have recently overcome. There are other certain conditions and allergies that can increase the likelihood of serious side effects, which makes it imperative that your doctor receives a comprehensive account of your total medical history, as well as your current health status and all medications that you use.

Your doctor must be aware of all medications that you are currently taking, including both prescription and non-prescription medications and all vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as any herbal remedies that you use. Be certain to advise them of any changes that may occur to your medications or how you take them in the days leading up to your procedure. If you have any questions about your medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Notify your doctor of any allergies that you may have, including allergic reactions to medications, both prescription and non-prescription, food allergies, and sensitivities to any substances. Patients with certain allergies may be at a higher risk level for experiencing an allergic reaction to Gadopentetate.

It is advisable that you review all concerns and questions with your doctor or another member of your medical team before you report for your MRI. You will be under constant medical care and supervision during the entire MRI procedure and should inform one of the medical team members if you experience any serious side effects. Do not leave the hospital or clinic until all symptoms and side effects have subsided and you have confirmed that the possibility of experiencing a negative reaction has passed.

During the days following the scan and the use of Gadopentetate, stay aware of how your body is reacting and notify your doctor of any lingering side effects that may occur and do not go away on their own.

The solution is only used in a hospital or another type of medical facility and patients will have medical supervision throughout the entire process.

Conditions Treated

  • Contrast agent used in MRIs

Type Of Medicine

  • Radiological non-ionic contrast media

Side Effects

The use of Gadopentetate has been reported to cause a number of unwanted side effects, in addition to its stated purpose. As the solution is administered as part of an MRI scan, if you experience any serious symptoms, notify one of the medical staff members who are present.

The following list of side effects require immediate medical care:

Rare Likelihood:

  • Arm, back, or jaw pain
  • Total body jerking
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling or puffiness of the face
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • A sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slow or fast heartbeat
  • Trouble with swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Faintness
  • A runny nose
  • Fainting
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Fever
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Hives
  • Noisy breathing
  • Itching
  • Nervousness
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Pain or swelling of the treated skin
  • Irritation of the throat
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Redness, tenderness, itching, burning of the skin
  • Fast, pounding, or erratic heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Lightheadedness
  • Skin rash
  • Dizziness
  • Sneezing
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Confusion
  • Swelling of the foot or leg
  • Chest tightness or heaviness
  • Tenderness
  • Changes in skin color
  • Unexplained tiredness or weakness
  • Bluish color of the skin or place
  • Wheezing

Unknown likelihood of incidence:

  • Trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • Bluish color of the fingernails, lips, skin, palms, or nail beds
  • Tenderness
  • Change in consciousness
  • Stupor
  • Decreased urine output
  • Spots on your skin resembling a blister or a pimple
  • Diarrhea
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Difficulty with speaking
  • Shakiness in the legs, arms, hands or feet
  • Hoarseness
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Increased sweating
  • Pain that is deep in the hip bone or ribs
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • No blood pressure or pulse
  • Lethargy
  • Agitation
  • Muscle twitching or weakness
  • Limited range of motion in the arms and legs
  • Not breathing
  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
  • Irritability
  • Red or dark patches on the skin
  • Hostility
  • Skin swelling, hardening or tightening
  • Frequent strong or increased urge to urinate
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Difficult, fast or noisy breathing
  • Stopping of the heart
  • Depression
  • Swelling of the face, ankles or hands
  • Coma
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Burning or itching of the skin
  • Troubled breathing
  • Blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin
  • Unconsciousness

There are other possible side effects that will likely dissipate on their own without any further medical attention:

Less likely:

Noticed at the site of the injection:

  • Tenderness
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Inflammation
  • Numbness
  • Lumps
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Infection
  • Soreness
  • Feeling of pressure
  • Swelling
  • Coldness
  • Tingling
  • Blistering
  • Warmth at the injection site

Rare likelihood:

  • Abdominal or stomach discomfort or pain
  • Vomiting
  • Burning, dry or itching eyes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Continuing ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Tearing of the eyes
  • Increased salivation
  • Difficulty having a bowel movement
  • Skin rash
  • Double vision
  • Restlessness
  • Ear pain
  • Pain in the tooth
  • Feeling cold or warm
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hives or welts
  • Discharge or excessive tearing
  • Lack or loss of strength
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nervousness
  • Hearing loss
  • Redness, pain or swelling of the eye
  • Seeing double
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • Thirst
  • Decrease or change in vision
  • Uncontrolled eye movements
  • Change in taste
  • Weight loss

Unknown likelihood of incidence:

  • Tunnel vision
  • An overbright appearance of lights
  • Difficulties moving
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Double vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Blurred or loss of vision
  • Night blindness
  • Disturbed color perception
  • Poor hearing
  • Change in sense of smell

It is also possible to experience side effects or symptoms that are not contained on this list. If you have a concern about any reaction that you experience after receiving your MRI, it is always best to check with the medical time prior to leaving the hospital.

Dosage

Your doctor will determine the appropriate dosage for you on a case by case basis. This medicine should never be self-administered and is only appropriate for use in a hospital or other medical facility.

Major drug interactions:

Patients must inform their medical team of all of the medications that they are currently taking or have recently stopped taking. Make sure to include both prescription and non-prescription drugs, all herbal remedies and any vitamin or mineral supplements. If there are any changes to the medications that you are taking or to your overall health, be sure to inform your healthcare team.

The staff at your doctor's office will let you know if you need to make any alterations prior to your MRI, such as not eating or drinking for a certain number of hours before you have the procedure. Be sure to follow all of their instructions, as they are in place to minimize the chance of having to redo the scan.

This solution is not recommended for use in patients that suffer from moderate or severe kidney issues.

Patients that suffer from any of the issues included in the list below must be sure to review their complete medical history with their doctor prior to their MRI, as these conditions may worsen with the use of Gadopentetate:

Warnings

If you experience any serious unwanted reactions or side effects from the contrast agent used in your MRI, it is advised that you have the issue addressed completely before leaving the hospital. Patients who have kidney disease are at higher risk of contracting nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), which can be extremely serious and harmful to one's health. Patients with previous kidney issues must be aware of the following symptoms and report them immediately to the medical staff:

  • Burning or itching of the skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain that is deep in the hip bone or ribs
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Limited range of motion in the arms and legs
  • Hardening, or tightening of the skin
  • Red or dark patches on the skin

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms below which may be a sign of anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction that has been reported in patients that have been administered Gadopentetate. Notify a member of your medical team immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • A skin rash
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling of warmth or coldness
  • Skin peeling of the skin
  • Confusion
  • Mild, burning pain

Storage

Because these contrast agents are never self-administered, patients will not need to worry about the safe storage of this medicine.

Summary

Gadopentetate is an effective contrast agent that is used in conjunction with MRI scan. The solution is injected into the vein and is always administered under medical direction and supervision. This drug should never be self-administered. Patients must inform their doctor of all of their current medical conditions, as there are certain conditions that will increase the likelihood of the patient experiencing an allergic reaction.

Gadopentetate is not recommended for use in patients who suffer from serious kidney conditions. If you have kidney issues, be sure to discuss them thoroughly with your doctor prior to undergoing your MRI.

This solution has been reported to cause anaphylactic shock, which can be serious and even fatal in some instances. Patients are advised to study and understand the list of symptoms associated with this reaction and to inform their medical team of any instances that occur.

Do not leave the hospital or medical facility until you feel completely well and have overcome all side effects that occurred with the use of Gadopentetate. Your doctor or another medical care provider will be with you during the MRI and immediately following its conclusion and should be informed of any serious issues that occur.

MRIs are often used in place of x-rays, as they do not expose the patient to radiation. If you have any questions or concerns about undergoing this procedure and the use of Gadopentetate, it is advisable to take time prior to the procedure to discuss them with your doctor or a member of your medical team.

It is important that patients immediately inform their nurse or doctor of any serious reactions to Gadopentetate that they experience. This solution can cause serious reactions that can be harmful or even fatal, and it is important that patients are aware of the signs to look for in the time following their procedure.

MRIs are an effective diagnostic and management tool that helps medical professionals better treat their patients. While the use of Gadopentetate does come with the possibility of some serious side effects, the benefits are generally believed to outweigh the risks. Patients are strongly advised to provide their doctor with their comprehensive medical history, as well as any medical conditions that they are currently experiencing.