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Gadolinium (or gadodiamide) provides contrast between normal and abnormal tissue in the brain and body. When gadolinium is used, it causes abnormal tissue to appear brighter in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). An MRI can be performed without gadolinium, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved alternative contrast agents for evaluating lesions of the liver. An MRI performed without gadolinium does not provide the same amount of diagnostic information that an MRI using a contrast agent would contain.

Gadolinium is a clear, non-radioactive substance that doctors inject into the bloodstream. It then accumulates in abnormal tissue. For example, small tumors and other abnormalities are highlighted by using gadolinium.

Danger of Gadolinium

Patients with normal kidney function are able to excrete gadolinium from the body through the kidneys. However, individuals with poor kidney function often cannot process gadolinium and its use has been linked to a debilitating and incurable condition known as Nephrogenic System Fibrosis (NSF) or Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD).

NSF is a disorder causing fibrosis or increased formation of the connective tissue in the skin. The skin typically reveals the most visible effect. The FDA reports that victims of NSF observe some of the following symptoms:

  • Burning or itching of the skin
  • Reddened or darkened patches of skin
  • Swelling, hardening or tightening of the skin
  • Limited range of motion in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain deep in the hip joints or ribs

Patients may have to wait more than one year for some of these symptoms to appear. In extreme cases, patients may not be able to fully extend their joints or walk. NSF may even cause fibrosis of the eyes and internal organs. Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for NSF. As NSF advances, its symptoms can worsen and lead to death.

Parties at Risk for (Nephrogenic System Fibrosis) NSF

The FDA has mandated a warning on the boxes of gadolinium-based contrast agents. The warning states that patients with kidney malfunction or advanced renal failure, who receive gadolinium-based agents, face the risk of developing NSF. Moreover, patients before or just after a liver transplantation, or those with chronic liver disease, who have kidney insufficiency, also face a greater risk of developing NSF.

Where Gadolinium is Found

Gadolinium is marketed under several names. Common brand names include:

  • Magnevist
  • Omniscan
  • OptiMARK
  • Multihance
  • ProHance

Litigation Involving Gadolinium

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a gadolinium based product, and have experienced any of the symptoms discussed above, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of experienced legal counsel to determine your options and to preserve your rights. Contact Anderson Law Offices, LLC for a free evaluation of your case.

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