FDA Drug Safety Communication: New warnings for using gadolinium-based contrast agents in patients with kidney dysfunction

[09-09-2010] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring changes in the drug label for gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) to minimize the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), a rare, but serious, condition associated with the use of GBCAs in certain patients with kidney dysfunction. GBCAs are intravenous drugs used in diagnostic imaging procedures to enhance the quality of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). (See Approved Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents below).

These label changes are intended to help ensure these drugs are used appropriately, and that patients at risk for NSF who receive GBCAs are actively monitored for the development of NSF. Symptoms of NSF include scaling, hardening and tightening of the skin; red or dark patches on the skin; and stiffness. NSF can also cause fibrosis of internal organs which may lead to death. There is no effective treatment for NSF.

NSF has not been reported in patients with normal kidney function. Patients at greatest risk for developing NSF after receiving GBCAs are those with impaired elimination of the drug, including patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) or chronic, severe kidney disease (with a glomerular filtration rate or GFR < 30 mL/min/1.73m2). Higher than recommended doses or repeat doses of GBCAs also appear to increase the risk for NSF.

source: FDA

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