MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: side effects of gadolinium

Date: Tue Jul 20 14:13:24 1999
Posted By: Bernadette Baca, Health Physicist, Uranium Licensing Project, Texas Dept of Health-Bureau of Radiation Control
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 932448174.Me

First, one needs to be aware that as with ANY drug, there could be side 
effects that range from very mild to quite severe.  Each and every person 
is different and what may not affect a large number of individuals may 
affect one single person.  Also, too, one must consider that in time you 
could eventually develop a sensitivity to any compound - even if it never 
bothered you before.

But back to our topic.  In light of much research and testing with 
gadolinium in MRI studies, there have been very few reported cases of 
severe side affects from using this "contrast" element.  There was a 
previous contrast substance used which was based off shellfish compounds.  Many 
indviduals have reported sensitivities or allergies to shellfish compounds 
ranging from rashes to asphixiation (can't breathe).  However, the gadolinium 
compounds are not shellfish based, making them much safer for everyone.

Another interesting item is that gadolinium is naturally found in your 
body.  Granted it is not a whole lot, but it is there.  Researchers have 
commented on gadolinium being used in the metabolism mechanisms of the 
body.  So it is not necessarily considered a bad additive if used 
appropriately.  Again remember that as always, too much of a good thing can 
be harmful, so it's probably not a good idea to load your body up with too 
much of it.  

Be confident that your doctor will know what is safe for you. 
And if you feel that you may have an allergic reaction, talk with your 
doctor.  NEVER be afraid to ask your doctor questions concerning your own 

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