Gadolinium Toxicity

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Gadolinium Toxicity – Is it a real thing?

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If you have developed unexplained and troubling symptoms since your MRI or MRA with a Gadolinium-based Contrast Agent, then you will understand why we think that Gadolinium Toxicity is a medical condition that needs to be recognized.  It is a problem that is long overdue for recognition by the FDA and the medical community.  There is mounting evidence in the published literature that indicates that patients with normal kidney function retain Gadolinium which is known to be toxic to the human body.

Some people develop symptoms after just one dose of contrast, while others will have several MRIs with contrast before they realize their unexplained symptoms began soon after their exposure to a Gadolinium-based Contrast Agent or GBCA.  In my case, I have had 5 contrast-enhanced MRIs.  It wasn’t until early 2010 after my 5th dose of contrast that I finally realized some of my symptoms that I thought were related to my spine problems may have been caused by the contrast agent I received.  I have experienced a wide-range of symptoms over the course of the last five years that have involved most body systems to varying degrees.  While some symptoms have improved, others seem to be getting worse.  I am never totally symptom free or pain free, but I am determined to go on living my life as best as I can and I hope you will do the same.

It can be very scary when you don’t know what is causing your unusual symptoms.  It can suddenly become even more frightening when you discover they have been caused by a toxic metal that is known to cause the debilitating and sometimes fatal disease known as NSF.  (See Background on NSF for details.)

If you are a person with normal kidney function, very little has been published that will help you decide what to do about the Gadolinium you retained.  To make matters worse, you will have to convince your doctors that your symptoms were caused by retained Gadolinium.   So how do you do that?

In my opinion, one of the best things you can do is to become well-informed.  You will have to be your own advocate if you are going to get doctors to take your concerns about Gadolinium Toxicity seriously.  Being knowledgeable rather than emotional will get you more positive attention and support from your doctors.

While I encourage you to read the three self-study papers in Our Research, your doctors might dismiss them since they were produced by patients.  However, everything presented in those papers is accurate and supported by the peer-reviewed published literature.  If you haven’t done much research of your own yet, then it might be a bit overwhelming.  The good news is we have already done extensive research and we have compiled some of the most important facts for you within the pages of our Background section and more facts about Gadolinium can be found throughout our website.

Your doctors won’t change their minds about Gadolinium Toxicity based just on what you “think” caused your problems.  Remember, doctors are working under the belief that patients with normal kidney function do not retain Gadolinium from Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents.  They have been told Gadolinium retention is only a problem for people with severe kidney disease.  However, your doctors should be willing to consider the published facts which show that people (and study animals) without severe kidney disease retain Gadolinium.  Since Gadolinium is known to be toxic, it would seem that any amount a person retains should be cause for serious concern.

Be sure to read our 11 Tips for Patients with Gadolinium Toxicity.  As the first tip says, you should file an Adverse Event Report with the FDA through its MedWatch Program.  You do not need results from any Gadolinium-related testing in order to file an Adverse Event Report.  You do not have to be able to “prove” your symptoms were caused by retained Gadolinium from the MRI contrast agent; you only have to suspect that they were.  It is very important that you tell the FDA about your problems after your contrast-enhanced MRIs or MRAs.  If we don’t tell the FDA about our unexplained symptoms after being injected with a GBCA, then the magnitude of the Gadolinium Toxicity problem will never be known and nothing will ever be done.

While we encourage everyone to do a 24-hour urine test for Gadolinium, keep in mind that having a high level of Gadolinium in your urine will not get you a Gadolinium-related diagnosis.  However, it will provide you with proof that you retained Gadolinium.  You can learn more about urine testing on the Testing page in the Help section.

One of the best suggestions I can give you is to start keeping a journal or daily log of your symptoms – be sure to note any new or worsening symptoms.  Since low body temperature and labile hypertension have been two of my ongoing symptoms, I record those readings almost every day.  I also note medication changes, test results, doctors’ visits, and other relevant information.  As time goes by, there is no way you will be able to remember exactly when things occurred.  Looking back at my notes helped me realize that the unenhanced MRIs I have had since my last dose of contrast caused an increase in some of my symptoms and seemed to cause new ones too; the MRIs without contrast especially affected my brain, face, eyes, and throat.

Now that you know your health problems have been caused by retained Gadolinium, what do you do next?  Do you try chelation therapy or other remedies that patients have told you about?  While we offer some treatment information in our Help section, no one affiliated with this website is a medical professional and we are not qualified to offer medical advice.  Before you try anything, we encourage you to speak to your primary care doctor and other health care providers so that together you can make the best decision for you and your long-term health.

If you would like to connect with other people who are dealing with Gadolinium Toxicity, I encourage you to apply for membership to our MRI-Gadolinium-Toxicity support group on Yahoo.  It is amazing how talking with others who understand what you are going through really does help, especially when everyone else seems to dismiss your concerns about Gadolinium Toxicity.  I know because I’ve been there too.

Stay calm, learn all that you can, and talk to others who are also dealing with the chronic effects of Gadolinium Toxicity.  Whatever you do, please don’t give up.

Sharon W


2 Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    I have come across this website after my wife was found with extremely high urine gadolinium levels on a provoked urine test.

    Unfortunately, my wife had worked as a dental assistant for 6 years and exposed to high levels of mercury vapor during her career.

    She was diagnosed with “lupus” but there is a wealth of literature which documents lupus as a complication of mercury toxicity. Elimination of mercury will lead to resolution of the disease process in many cases or substantial improvement.

    The problem is that I have been unable to convince any of her treating physicians that she suffered mercury toxicity. I am a physician myself and appalled at the behavior of my colleagues. It’s no wonder many people have come to despise modern medicine.

    I treated her for mercury toxicity myself with natural agents. She improved initially, making very dramatic improvement.

    It was during a hospitalization in which my wife had developed cholestatic liver disease that I made the connection between mercury and lupus.

    This is the thing, before I became seriously involved in a relationship with her, she care to see me as a physician with severe back pain.

    I ordered an MRI and the radiologist requested the use of gadolinium which I agreed to. I was taught that gadolinium is cleared quickly in people with normal renal function. The scan was ordered over 15 years ago.

    She also recently developed severe cholestatic liver disease. I took her in to the hospital requesting an MRCP. Again they used a GBCA. She was transported to a tertiary medical center for a further work up with ERCP and endoscopic ultrasonography. It was during that hospitalization that I learned of the connection between mercury exposure and lupus.

    I started her on herbal food agents and she improved significantly initially. But she went onto worsen. In retrospect it is all clear. I was successfully treating mercury but she was becoming toxic with another type of heavy metal exposure, gadolinium.

    I doubled down on mercury detox not realizing that there may be something else going on. And during the whole time, every physician was resistant to the idea of mercury toxicity despite all of the literature I had accumulated in the scientific peer reviewed literature. There was no way they would even consider another agent such as gadolinium.

    I reached out to a complementary medicine provider who had excellent credentials and he responded in a very professional and kind manner.

    I loaded my wife for a coast to coast trip despite her very frail condition. He ran a provoked urine toxic metals test. My wife is toxic from a number of agents including high levels of cadmium, tin, bismuth, lead, and nickel. But her gadolinium level was way off of the chart. Normal unprovoked levels are less than 0.8 and this was a provoked test. Her level was 78. The physician said it is the highest gadolinium level he has ever seen. But he is pretty confident he can get it out with Ca EDTA chelation. He has given her several doses and she appears to be responding well. I am anxiously awaiting the follow up study to see if her levels have improved.

    I came to this site looking for info on gadolinium induced toxicity. My wife does not have the symptoms of NSF yet. But I believe it was really only a matter of time.

    I will keep everyone updated on her progress. I know the cost of chelation is high, but I don’t believe I have any other choice if there’s any realistic chance of her making a full recovery.

    I regret asking for the MRCP. I should have insisted on ERCP though I know that most GI specialists would want an MRCP performed first. Had I known that gadolinium accumulates in people with normal renal function, I would have refused the agent. I know that the images are reduced in quality. But my wife is unable to clear the agent. That much is clear.

    I know that I will order any study that calls for the agent with extreme caution. Which I should have been doing all along.

    • Hubbs G says:

      Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your story. We are doing all we can to get recognition for gadolinium toxicity, and in the meantime, many people are being harmed. Any way you can help will be appreciated.

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