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EMA reviewing gadolinium contrast agents used in MRI scans

Review to consider evidence on gadolinium accumulation in brain tissue

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a review of the risk of gadolinium deposition in brain tissue following the use of gadolinium contrast agents in patients having magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Gadolinium contrast agents are diagnostic products that may be given to patients before or during MRI scans to help doctors obtain better images of organs and tissues. After administration, gadolinium agents are mostly eliminated via the kidneys but studies indicate that deposits can build up in some body tissues, including in the liver, kidney, muscle, skin and bone.

Recently, a number of publications have reported that gadolinium contrast agents also accumulate in brain tissue1-7. In January 2016, EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) reviewed these publications. Although no adverse effects relating to gadolinium brain deposition have been reported to date, the PRAC will carry out an in-depth review of the risk of brain deposits and of the overall safety of these products.

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