Adverse reactions to iodinated contrast media

Eur Radiol. 2001;11(7):1267-75. doi: 10.1007/s003300000729.


Adverse reactions to iodinated contrast media (ICM) are more likely to develop in patients with asthma, a history of allergy or contrast reaction and in those who are debilitated or medically unstable. These reactions can be divided into renal and general, and the latter are subdivided into acute and delayed. Acute general reactions can be minor, intermediate or severe. Fatal reactions are rare. The introduction of low-osmolality agents has caused an overall reduction in the number of non-fatal contrast reactions. Prompt recognition and treatment of acute adverse side effects to ICM is invaluable and may prevent a reaction from becoming severe. Familiarity with cardiopulmonary resuscitation is essential for successful management of life-threatening reactions. Contrast-media-induced renal impairment can be reduced with the use of low-osmolality contrast media and extracellular volume expansion. The use of ICM in diabetic patients receiving metformin should be carried out with care to avoid metformin-induced lactic acidosis. However, this problem is mainly observed in patients with diabetic nephropathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis, Lactic / chemically induced
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Injections
  • Iodine / administration & dosage
  • Iodine / adverse effects*
  • Iodine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Metformin / adverse effects
  • Osmolar Concentration


  • Contrast Media
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin
  • Iodine