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Safety of gadoterate meglumine in children younger than 2 years of age



Few studies on the safety of gadolinium-based contrast agents have been performed in children with even fewer focusing on children younger than 2 years of age.


To assess the safety of gadoterate meglumine (Dotarem) in patients younger than 2 years of age by evaluating adverse events following contrast administration.

Materials and methods

Pediatric patients younger than 2 years of age undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with and without contrast were prospectively enrolled and received a weight-based intravenous dose of gadoterate meglumine (0.1 mmol/kg). The occurrence of adverse events was assessed at the time of injection, 2 h after MRI, and by phone contact using a standard questionnaire 24 h after MRI. Adverse events were documented including the time of onset, duration of symptoms, intensity, causality and subsequent outcome. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize patient information.


One hundred fifty exams were completed in 150 patients (median age: 12.1 months, age range: 0.25–23 months; males: 56%). Almost all patients (97.3%) received sedation/anesthesia before and during MRI. Thirty-four adverse events were reported in 23 patients overall (15.3%; male: 73.9%; median age: 11 months, age range: 3–23 months). Within the initial 2 h after the injection, there was one report of transient flushing/warmth and one report of vomiting, the latter of which was related to drinking formula too soon after anesthesia. Twenty-two patients (14.7%), who had all received sedation/anesthesia, experienced minor adverse events within 24 h, most physiological. Fourteen patients (9.3%) reported emesis, eight (5.3%) reported transient flushing/warmth, seven (4.7%) reported nausea, one (0.7%) reported altered taste and one (0.7%) reported dizziness. No patient experienced anaphylaxis. Two patients (1.3%) reported allergic-like reactions, which consisted of wheezing or sneezing.


No patient experienced adverse events directly related to gadoterate meglumine. Only two adverse events were reported to have occurred in the initial 2 h after the exam, while the rest were reported on the 24-h follow-up call. The higher reported rate of adverse events in this study may be related to concomitant sedation/anesthesia as well as to overreporting from parents on the 24-h follow-up questionnaire. The study confirms a good safety profile for gadoterate meglumine in this very sensitive population.

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Funding support was provided through an investigator-initiated grant provided by Guerbet, LLC.

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Correspondence to Shannon G. Farmakis.

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Dr. Farmakis has research grants from GE Healthcare and Guerbet, LLC, and is a consultant for GE Precision Healthcare, LLC.

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Farmakis, S.G., Hardy, A.K., Mahmoud, S.Y. et al. Safety of gadoterate meglumine in children younger than 2 years of age. Pediatr Radiol (2020).

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  • Adverse events
  • Children
  • Dotarem
  • Gadoterate meglumine
  • Infants
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Safety