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Gadolinium Based Contrast Agent – MultiHance

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MultiHance is manufactured by Bracco Diagnostics based out of Princeton, New Jersey. Also known as Gadobenate dimeglumine, the contrast agent was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in enhancing MRI images on November 23, 2004. MultiHance is considered a paramagnetic MRI contrast agent meaning that it tends to follow magnetic fields when used during an MRI procedure. Although it has only been available for a limited amount of time, MultiHance has proved its effectiveness time and time again in clinical trials.

MultiHance is created by taking Gadolinium ions and mixing them with a chelating agent called Gadobenate which forms a protective sphere around the ion making it more stable and reducing its toxicity. MultiHance costs about 20% more per dose when compared to other Gadolinium based contrast agents. Many medical professionals consider it well worth the price because the images obtained are so much clearer than images obtained using other contrast agents. The contrast agent is obtained as a clear solution that is injected into the veins prior to an MRI procedure.

Using MultiHance in conjunction with an MRI results in images that are highly detailed and significantly clearer than images obtained with the use of other contrast agents. The contrast agent is commonly used intravenously to enhance the images of the central nervous system in adults. It is used to pinpoint lesions and abnormal growths present in the brain, spine, and other associated tissues. It is also one of the few contrast agents that can be used for liver enhancement studies. Clinical studies have found that the use of MultiHance during MRI scans of the liver result greatly improves the chances of liver cancer detection and the detection of lesions in the liver.

Common side effects associated with the use of MultiHance include mild abdominal pain, sweating, minor skin rash, painful or burning sensation at the site of the injection, difficulty swallowing, and constipation. More serious side effects include dry mouth, gastrointestinal issues, tremors, increased salivation, dizziness, lightheadedness, and blurred vision. In rare cases, an allergic reaction may occur, resulting in a severe rash, hives, the swelling of the patient’s hands or face, and difficulty breathing. Anyone suspected of having an allergic reaction to MultiHance should obtain medical treatment immediately to avoid worsening the condition, which could cause death. Medical professionals should also be notified if the patient experiences tingling, numbness, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet, as this can be a sign of a greater problem.

Recent studies have found a possible link between Gadolinium based contrast agents such as MultiHance and the development of a serious, debilitating condition named Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis. This condition is characterized by patches of rough, thickened skin appearing on the upper and lower extremities accompanied by a severe burning or itching sensation in the affected areas. This condition is very rare and is considered life threatening in severe cases. This condition only affects individuals who are suffering from advanced kidney disease or kidney failure at the time they undergo an MRI using a Gadolinium based contrast agent. There are close to 300 confirmed cases of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis worldwide.

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