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Vasovist FDA Alerts

The FDA Alert(s) below may be specifically about Vasovist or relate to a group or class of drugs which include Vasovist (gadofosveset trisodium).

MedWatch Safety Alerts are distributed by the FDA and published by Drugs.com. Following is a list of possible medication recalls, market withdrawals, alerts and warnings. For the latest FDA MedWatch alerts, go here.

Recent FDA Alert(s) for gadofosveset trisodium

Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents (GBCAs): Drug Safety Communication - Retained in Body; New Class Warnings

Dec 19, 2017

Audience: Radiology, Health Care Professional, Patient

ISSUE: FDA is requiring a new class warning and other safety measures for all gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) concerning gadolinium remaining in patients’ bodies, including the brain, for months to years after receiving these drugs. Gadolinium retention has not been directly linked to adverse health effects in patients with normal kidney function, and FDA has concluded that the benefit of all approved GBCAs continues to outweigh any potential risks.

However, after additional review and consultation with the Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee, FDA is requiring several actions to alert health care professionals and patients about gadolinium retention after an MRI using a GBCA, and actions that can help minimize problems. These include requiring a new patient Medication Guide, providing educational information that every patient will be asked to read before receiving a GBCA. FDA is also requiring manufacturers of GBCAs to conduct human and animal studies to further assess the safety of these contrast agents. 

To date, the only known adverse health effect related to gadolinium retention is a rare condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) that occurs in a small subgroup of patients with pre-existing kidney failure. FDA received reports of adverse events involving multiple organ systems in patients with normal kidney function. A causal association between these adverse events and gadolinium retention could not be established.

BACKGROUND: This is an update to the May 22, 2017 MedWatch safety alert "Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Drug Safety Communication - No Harmful Effects Identified With Brain Retention".

GBCAs are used with medical imaging devices called MRI scanners to examine the body for problems such as cancer, infections, or bleeding. GBCAs contain gadolinium, a heavy metal. These contrast agents are injected into a vein to improve visualization of internal organs, blood vessels, and tissues during an MRI, which helps health care professionals diagnose medical conditions. After being administered, GBCAs are mostly eliminated from the body through the kidneys. However, trace amounts of gadolinium may stay in the body long-term. Many GBCAs have been on the market for more than a decade.

There are two types of GBCAs based on their chemical structures: linear and macrocyclic (see Table 1 in Drug Safety Communication). Linear GBCAs result in more retention and retention for a longer time than macrocyclic GBCAs. Gadolinium levels remaining in the body are higher after administration of Omniscan (gadodiamide) or OptiMARK (gadoversetamide) than after Eovist (gadoxetate disodium), Magnevist (gadopentetate dimeglumine), or MultiHance (gadobenate dimeglumine). Gadolinium levels in the body are lowest after administration of Dotarem (gadoterate meglumine), Gadavist (gadobutrol), and ProHance (gadoteridol); the gadolinium levels are also similar across these agents. 

RECOMMENDATION: Health care professionals should consider the retention characteristics of each agent when choosing a GBCA for patients who may be at higher risk for gadolinium retention (see Table 1 listing GBCAs). These patients include those requiring multiple lifetime doses, pregnant women, children, and patients with inflammatory conditions. Minimize repeated GBCA imaging studies when possible, particularly closely spaced MRI studies. However, do not avoid or defer necessary GBCA MRI scans.

Patients, parents, and caregivers should carefully read the new patient Medication Guide that will be given to you before receiving a GBCA. The Medication Guide explains the risks associated with GBCAs. Also tell your health care professional about all your medical conditions, including:

  • If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
  • The date of your last MRI with gadolinium and if you have had repeat scans with gadolinium
  • If you have kidney problems

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

[12/19/2017 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]

Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Drug Safety Communication - No Harmful Effects Identified With Brain Retention

May 22, 2017

Audience: Radiology

ISSUE: An FDA review to date has not identified adverse health effects from gadolinium retained in the brain after the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Including:

Ablavar (gadofosveset trisodium)
Dotarem (gadoterate meglumine)
Eovist (gadoxetate disodium)
Gadavist (gadobutrol)
Magnevist (gadopentetate dimeglumine)
MultiHance (gadobenate dimeglumine)
Omniscan (gadodiamide)
OptiMARK (gadoversetamide)
ProHance (gadoteridol)

All GBCAs may be associated with some gadolinium retention in the brain and other body tissues. However, because FDA identified no evidence to date that gadolinium retention in the brain from any of the GBCAs, including GBCAs associated with higher retention of gadolinium, is harmful, restricting GBCA use is not warranted at this time. FDA will continue to assess the safety of GBCAs and plan to have a public meeting to discuss this issue in the future.

FDA evaluated scientific publications and adverse event reports submitted to FDA. Some human and animal studies looked at GBCA use over periods longer than a year. These publications and reports show that gadolinium is retained in organs such as the brain, bones, and skin. The publications show that linear GBCAs retain more gadolinium in the brain than macrocyclic GBCAs. However, the review did not identify adverse health effects related to this brain retention.

FDA continues to assess the safety of GBCAs. FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research is conducting a study on brain retention of GBCAs in rats. Other research is also being conducted about how gadolinium is retained in the body. FDA will update the public when new information becomes available and we plan to have a public meeting to discuss this issue in the future.

BACKGROUND: Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents are intravenous drugs used in diagnostic imaging procedures to enhance the quality of magnetic resonance imaging or magnetic resonance angiography.

RECOMMENDATION: FDA recommendations for health care professionals and patients remain unchanged from July 2015 when FDA informed the public that FDA was investigating this potential risk with GBCAs. As is appropriate when considering the use of any medical imaging agent, health care professionals should limit GBCA use to circumstances in which additional information provided by the contrast agent is necessary, and assess the necessity of repetitive MRIs with GBCAs. Patients, parents, and caregivers should talk to their health care professionals if they have any questions or concerns about the use of GBCAs with MRIs. Retention of gadolinium affects only GBCAs, and does not apply to other types of scanning agents used for other imaging procedures, such as those that are iodine-based or radioisotopes.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

[05/22/2017 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]

Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Drug Safety Communication - FDA Evaluating the Risk of Brain Deposits With Repeated Use

Jul 27, 2015

Audience: Radiology

ISSUE: FDA is investigating the risk of brain deposits following repeated use of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Recent publications in the medical literature have reported that deposits of GBCAs remain in the brains of some patients who undergo four or more contrast MRI scans, long after the last administration. It is unknown whether these gadolinium deposits are harmful or can lead to adverse health effects.

FDA, including its National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), will study this possible safety risk further. FDA is working with the research community and industry to understand the mechanism of gadolinium retention and to determine if there are any potential adverse health effects. Based on the need for additional information, at this time, FDA is not requiring manufacturers to make changes to the labels of GBCA products.

BACKGROUND: After being administered, GBCAs are mostly eliminated from the body through the kidneys. However, trace amounts of gadolinium may stay in the body long-term. Recent studies conducted in people and animals have confirmed that gadolinium can remain in the brain, even in individuals with normal kidney function. Available information does not identify any adverse health effects.

RECOMMENDATION: To reduce the potential for gadolinium accumulation, health care professionals should consider limiting GBCA use to clinical circumstances in which the additional information provided by the contrast is necessary. Health care professionals are also urged to reassess the necessity of repetitive GBCA MRIs in established treatment protocols.

Patients, parents, and caregivers should talk to their health care professionals if they have any questions about the use of GBCAs with MRIs. This issue affects only GBCAs; it does not apply to other types of scanning agents used for other imaging procedures, such as those that are iodine-based or radioisotopes.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

[07/27/2015 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]

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