Gadolinium Toxicity

Home » Help for those affected » Symptoms associated with Gadolinium Toxicity

Symptoms associated with Gadolinium Toxicity

Breaking News

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July 21, 2017 – European Medical Authority takes action on Linear Contrast Agents.  Read all about it.

March 10, 2017 – European group recommends to stop using 4 linear GBCAs Read all about it.

February 27, 2017 – New Study Reports Gadolinium Retention in 70 Cases with Normal Kidney Function. Read all about it.

As with most medical conditions, the specific symptoms of Gadolinium Toxicity will vary from person to person.  Other than what you will read here and in our research papers, there is no published listing of the common symptoms of Gadolinium Toxicity.  By means of a symptom survey of 17 people with high urine levels of Gadolinium, we have provided a comprehensive review of this topic in  Survey of the Chronic Effects of Retained Gadolinium from Contrast MRIs, which we encourage you to read.  On this page, we will provide some high-level information from that paper as well as other observations we have gathered from MRI Gadolinium Support Group.  Only collective information is presented.  Other than in the Viewpoints section, we will never present individual specific information.

Establishing the Gadolinium Toxicity Connection

Symptoms are generally experienced at an acute level shortly after having a contrast MRI and at a chronic level for years following their last contrast MRI.  Some people have the early acute symptoms that they can tie time-wise to their contrast MRI.  Often they are very frightened, and any appeals to the medical professionals involved in the contrast ordering or administration process meet with denial or disbelief regarding the connection of their symptoms to the contrast agent, and certainly there is no supportive relief.  Others experience chronic symptoms that their doctors cannot explain and through research or testing they make the connection back to their contrast MRI.  They, too, are concerned, but more from a viewpoint of “where is all this leading”.  Many people experience both the early acute problems and the chronic effects.  People at both ends of the spectrum want to know what they can do to cure their Gadolinium-related problems.  More about that in our Treatment Possibilities section.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms experienced fall outside normal descriptive terms for medical symptoms making it hard for patients to communicate to their doctors just what they are experiencing.  For those symptoms, we will provide additional descriptive details as appropriate.

In rough order of frequency as reported in our Survey of the Chronic Effects of Retained Gadolinium from Contrast MRIs,

  • Pain – aching; burning, tingling, and/or prickling pain (paresthesia); deep bone pain.  Typically in extremities or joints, and sometimes in the location where the MRI occurred, like the head.
  • Dermal changes – like tight skin, lesions, hyperpigmentation.  Most often in extremities.
  • Muscle issues – twitching – small, local, rapid contractions and weakness
  • Ocular problems – worsening vision,  dry eyes, bloodshot eyes
  • Cognitive symptoms
  • Ear, nose and throat – tinnitus, swallowing, and voice problems
  • Low body temperature
  • Hair loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Balance problems
  • Swelling of extremities (edema)

There is one symptom experienced by many that transcends several of the symptoms listed above.  It is a sense of an electrified, vibrating, twitching feeling typically just under the skin that is sometimes localized and at other times a more overall feeling.  Sometimes it feels like something is crawling around under the skin.  This is a particularly alarming feeling when first experienced as it is unlike anything that the person has ever experienced and it is very difficult to explain to doctors.

Progression of Symptoms

Our research showed that there is very little difference between early symptoms and ongoing, chronic symptoms.  But the experience of dealing with these symptoms and the impact it has on patients’ lives are often different.

Early Experience

Most people with Gadolinium Toxicity from contrast MRIs have symptoms within the first month after their contrast administration.  For many, their symptoms start within a few days, and for some, within hours of being injected with the contrast agent.  Usually the symptoms are intense, but for some the symptoms are more subtle.  The experience can be frightening because the feelings are new and different; often, nothing is visible on the outside of the body.  One’s mental or emotional state can be affected.

Generally, the intensity of the symptoms will subside over time, but the reduction is not necessarily uniform, with ups and downs.  The frightened feeling also dissipates with time, and the symptoms may feel less intense as the mind and body get used to dealing with them.  Reading some of the Viewpoints from people who have gone through this might be helpful and joining the MRI Gadolinium Support Group can provide interactive support.

Longer Term Chronic Experience

With time, symptoms may go away or significantly subside, but patients reported on in our Survey of the Chronic Effects of Retained Gadolinium from Contrast MRIs, have been dealing with their chronic symptoms for up to 5 years with no end in sight.  With little medical attention, there are no known treatments to “cure” Gadolinium Toxicity (read more in Treatments).  Symptom relief and coping methods will most often bring the patient into a state of being able to tolerate or simply accept their symptoms.

As anyone dealing with chronic conditions, patients experience ups and downs, and often try a variety of approaches to lessen the impact of their symptoms.  For those whose symptoms do not go away, the intensity of the symptoms may increase over time.  This would seem to indicate that the Gadolinium Toxicity is continuing to negatively impact their body.

It is much harder to describe the chronic experience because each of our bodies is different and our ability to cope is different.  Since nothing has been published about patients with normal kidney function who developed NSF, we do not know if anyone with normal kidney function has died from their exposure to Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents.  We are also not aware of anyone who has “cured” their Gadolinium Toxicity, although some on the MRI Gadolinium Support Group have reported improvement of some symptoms after trying various treatments.  Some have been diagnosed with Small Fiber Sensory Neuropathy, thyroid abnormalities, adrenal fatigue, mast cell problems and other conditions.  Often these diagnoses indicate some sort of atypical presentation of the associated symptoms.  Since no related medical research has been published, we have no way of knowing whether there is a connection between the Gadolinium Toxicity and these conditions.

Our best advice is to hang in there and look for those actions that will help you deal with your symptoms and make sure your doctors know what you are experiencing.  We would be happy to have you join the MRI Gadolinium Support Group to pass on your experience and learn from others.

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27 Comments

  1. sam bull says:

    Eye Opener. in the extreme

  2. Sophia says:

    Since Gadolinium is a metal, did anyone experiment with bentonite clay, to remove Gandolinium from the body?
    Bentonite is ingested and proved effective in removing mercury and other harmful metals from the body.

  3. Claudia Goodell says:

    One month after MRI with Gadolinium contrast I still had high levels show up in a heavy metal test (done by Doctor’s Data). My doctor put me on a Byron White Herbal protocol to purge the metals prior to treatment for Lyme. The treatment lessened my symptoms and reduced my metal levels but it was a slow and gradual improvement over a 3 year period. It was definitely worth doing!

  4. Marianne Leopardo says:

    Definite an eyeopener,I have had polyneorophaty in my feet and legs and bad headache for five years after two
    MRI’s with contrast, also skin lesions.

    • Duke G says:

      You might want to have a 24-hour Toxic Elements Urine test to see if that shows you as outside the Mayp Range. Also consider joining the support group described elsewhere. We would love to add your MRI history and symptoms to our database.

  5. Marianne Leopardo says:

    Thank you,I like to join the support group.Let me know how.

  6. David says:

    This is also the contrast of choice for tests such as Intervenous Pyelogram or IVP which, ironically, tests kidney function. I have had two such tests in the past six months on either side of kidney surgery. So far I don’t seem to have any of the listed symptoms. Time will tell. Thank you for this information.

    • Duke G says:

      Interesting. Do they do an MRI of your kidneys after infusing the contrast agent?

    • Karen says:

      I just wanted to make you aware, if the test you had wasn’t an MRI, you did not receive gadolinium. It is a contrast agent, but it is a completely different substance that does NOT contain gadolinium. It works differently because xray is a whole different ballgame from MRI. It is a common confusion, and as a certified radiologic technologist, I am frequently explaining to patients that they are not the same. You wouldn’t test positive for gadolinium from an IVP contrast, because you wouldn’t have received gadolinium.

  7. derek stocker says:

    The systemic effects sound very, very similar to the Co/Cr toxicity I am experiencing from my bi laterhal THR failures. So glad when I had the MARS MRI they did not inject anything.

  8. Jim P says:

    I’m amazed. I had an MRI w/ gad.contrast for a spinal injury. I even questioned if gad is safe. Naturally they said yes.but, they had also told me Depo Medrol is safe to use in the spinal area. That too turned out to be a lie even being confirmed by the producer.
    I’ve had the muscle twitches and the phantom vibration feelings ever since having this particular MRI. The doctors said it’s nothing to be concerned about. Balance issues come and go. I’ve also had issues with both short and long term memory and my ability to remain focused. I used to be quick thinking and a great multi-tasker
    I don’t know if this is a help or not, A friend made me a magnetic bracelet and it seemed to help my balance issues.

    • Duke G says:

      Jim
      The muscle twitches and vibration feelings are one of the most common symptoms. My doctor also said they were nothing to be concerned about. 5 years later they are worse than ever.

      You might want to join the Support Group described elsewhere in this site. We support each other and collect information to create papers as described in the Our Research section.

  9. D. Freeland says:

    I had a full blown allergic reaction to contrast dye which required diffusion in ER I lost blood pressure and pulse and was administered epinephrine to save my life. I am experiencing deep pain, visual disturbances, balance issues (two extreme falls with no explanation and injury), as well as coldness even in warm atmosphere . This is the only explanation I have heard that makes sense. Is there no way to rid my body of this stuff? I have been told to never have it again and never to eat shellfish

    • Hubbs G says:

      You can read in the Help-> Treatments section the information we have on treating Gadoliniun Toxicity from contrast MRIs. However, comments about shellfish usually relate to the iodine based contrast material used in a CT scan with contrast, not a contrast MRI. The MRI contrast agent uses Gadolinium, not iodine. There is no known connection between shellfish and Gadoliniun.

  10. Gerardo S says:

    Definitely something to think about. I’ve only had one MRI and although I’ve had some of the symptoms described, I’ve been told these could also be due to stress/anxiety. Especially that generated by the feeling of not knowing or thinking you have a chronic condition.

  11. Anne says:

    Had genova provoked 6 hour urine screen showing 10 times the reference range. Last mri with contrast was in 2011. Had 2 brain mri’s with contrast prior to this. Recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, chronic. Lyme literate doctor routinely tests for metal toxicity. Even he was surprised about this gadolinium result. Symptoms of painful burning skin, deep bone pain, tingling and numbness, muscle spasms, burning eyes, sore mouth, and electrical type vibrations overlap with chronic neuro lyme.
    I am requesting test to be repeated.
    It seems that chelation is not effective treatment for this element.

    Anyone with lyme and gadolinoum toxicity?

    • Hubbs G says:

      Anne
      Sorry you had to find us. Your symptoms certainly match those of others quite closely. Chelation is effective in removing Gadolinium at rates exceeding normal excretion. Many of the people in our Yahoo Support Group have done IV EDTA chelation as well as oral chelation. So it can be chelated, but it has not been determined if that chelation improves symptoms. We suggest that you join the support group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/MRI-Gadolinium-Toxicity/info to learn about the experiences of other people. It is a closed group and we only admit people who believe they are gadolinium toxic to be members.

  12. Jodie says:

    I had a contrast/ with gadolinium dye MRI two years ago. As soon as the dye was injected, I felt a burning and inflating sensation in my chest. I then felt heat morphing into swelling, rising to my neck, throat, palate, tongue and lips. This reaction quickly was diagnosed as an anaphylactic reaction. Very rare they claimed, and 911 was called, as the imagining center had no epinephrine on hand. All ended well, but VERY SCARY, and no more contrast MRI’s for me!

  13. Dee says:

    I just heard about these effects. I have MS and have an MRI at least once per year. I also have MRA’s for a brain aneurysm. Recently I have also had MRI’s for different parts of my spine. Since MS already causes many of these symptoms, I don’t know which is causing what. What should I do?

    • Hubbs G says:

      Dee – We do not provide advice regarding personal medical situations on this site because it s not private. However, things we would suggest you might do include reading the Help section on the website, then you might want to get an unprovoked 24hr urine test for Gadolinium as described on the Testing page in the Help Section. If the result is high, you might consider joining the closed support group where people who are Gadolinium Toxic share their stories of symptoms and how they are trying to deal with them. We have a number of people in the support group who have been diagnosed with MS. You can find the support group here:
      https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/MRI-Gadolinium-Toxicity/info

  14. greg says:

    I had an MRI several years ago and I had a reaction to the contrast dye that was used. How would I find out if GAD was used?

    • Hubbs G says:

      When an MRI is done with contrast, the contrast is always gadolinium based. Technically it is not a dye.

      You should check with the organization where you got the MRI to get the medical records associated with the MRI. If you are in the USA, you are entitled to a copy of your medical records. You should note the brand of contrast used and the dosage.

  15. Jay says:

    Are you sure ALL MRI’s are done with a Gad contrast?

    • Hubbs G says:

      All MRIs are not done with contrast. The FDA has indicated that doctors should be more careful to only use contrast when needed because of the potential risk of gadolinium deposition in the brain, bones, and other organs.

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