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Daniel More, MD

IV Dye Allergy

By July 12, 2007

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Have you experienced symptoms of itching, flushing, hives, nausea or shortness of breath after receiving iv contrast dye for a radiological study? If so, then you may have an iv dye (also called radiocontrast media, or RCM) allergy. RCM allergy is quite common, and reactions can be severe, and even life-threatening. Reactions to RCM can be prevented with the use of newer iv dye agents and medications given prior to receiving the dye.

A long-held myth of RCM allergy is that there is an association with shellfish allergy. This is a still believed by many people, even some physicians. RCM allergy is not really an allergic process at all, and probably not related to the iodine content. Shellfish allergy to due to proteins, not to iodine content. While it is possible to have reactions to both shellfish and RCM, there is no relationship between the two.

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Comments
October 25, 2008 at 10:18 pm
(1) Lori Fuls says:

I had a CT scan on Friday, Can the Dye make you body sore ?

July 14, 2009 at 10:41 pm
(2) Katie says:

I had an IV Contrast dye injected in me. The reaction I got is nothing that anyone else mentioned. I had gotten REALLY dizzy, then my body went totally numb, about 5 mins after that I felt pins and needles ( Like when you foot falls a sleep) Then I got dizzy again, then I ichy all over I devloped swelling behind my ear. It was really scary, the nurse said to just go home and rest!!! I think something was very wrong!! Be careful of this stuff!!

September 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm
(3) marcella says:

I TOLD THE DOCTOR THAT I AM ALLERGIES TO DYE I DONT KNOW WICH ONE BUT ONLY THE DYE IN FOOD IND MEDICATION AND IF YOU R GOING TO GIVIE ME SOMETHING WITH DYE IN IT THAT GIVE ME SOMETHING BECAUSE IM ALLERGIES HE WENT IT NOT THE SAME WELL I HAD A MRI WITH GAD AND WHEN I CAME OUT OF THE MACHINE I STAR TO FEEL FUNNNY AND HAD S O B AND THE BACK OF MY HEAD WAS GIVING ME BAD PAIN AND AND I HAD THE SHAKES ON THE RIGHT SIDE WELL AFTER ALL THAT THEY DID GVIVE ME SOLUMEDROL BENEDRYL AND BREATHTREAMENT AND I GOT BETTER DOCTOR NEED TO LIST TO PATIENTS AND FAMILY BECAUSE IF THE NURSE HAD NOT ACT FAST AND GOT ME SOME HELP I CAUSE HAVE DIE OR SOMETHING

January 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm
(4) Rachel says:

After taking many CT scans over the last couple of years, I had an uneasy feeling with the one I took 6months ago, and sure enough I had a bad reaction which mirrors Katie (2). I questioned what was done different, if new provider, different brand. Was told all the same. I beg to differ. They placed me in a holding room, gave me Benadryl and monitored my vitals for 2 hours. Once the itching, swelling started to cease then was I released to go home and continue the Benadryl. It was quite scary indeed.

February 24, 2011 at 10:54 pm
(5) trcpanne87 says:

These reactions are all because much of the medications and dyes are made with GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGNISMS or processes. These franken substances are not tolerated by human systems and make toxic proteins that our bodies cannot handle. Genetic Modified foods do this same thing to me within 15 minutes. Benedryl is the only protection from anaphylactic shock! These unnatural substances should be banned from the earth!

July 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm
(6) Jayne says:

I had a contrast cat scan in the ER last night and nearly died. Within LESS than a minute my eyes felt like gasoline had been poured in them as tears started flooding down my face then swelled completely closed. My lips swelled, followed by my tongue, I went into convulsions, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak and felt my throat completely close right before I blacked out. I awoke apparently after shock treatments and the assistance of a nebulizer and oxygen. It felt like someone and put poison in my veins. Over a day later, my eye is just now opening up and the swelling in the right side of my face is starting to go down. (I almost have an eyelid again, yay!) All I know, is I never will go near a test like that again. I couldn’t believe how fast it took over my body and how long it’s taking to feel/look back to my normal self. I was warned by my doctor to not eat shellfish but the more I read, the more I’m realizing they do not go hand in hand… yes? I was trying to do some research just to see if there is anything else I should avoid because I never want to go through that again. It literally feels like you’re dying :(

August 16, 2011 at 9:15 am
(7) becky says:

I have had many ct scans in the past. I had to have another one in June. Prior to the scan, i had to drink contrast, then during the scan I was also given an IV with contrast. About 20 minutes after the scan, I started shaking uncontrollably. Shaking so bad that I couldn’t even catch my breath. Teeth chattering so bad I was gasping for air. I felt like I was in a 10 below zero room–just freezing. It lasted around 20 minutes then subsided. REally scary. Then 2 days later I had to have another scan and that time just had the IV dyd and not the one that I had to drink. That time I had mild shakes–like chills when you have a fever. That’s when we put 2 and 2 together and realized it was the dye that nearly killed me 2 days before.

December 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm
(8) Sunnyside says:

Years ago, I took a MRI and dye made me hives, itches, feeling of warmth and nausea. After done with MRI procedure, since I didn’t aware of allergy reaction, I was going to walk out of hospital while scratching my skin and feeling weak. However, the nurse spotted hives and called a doctor and he insisted me to get checked out. Then he gave me an intravenous fluids (don’t know exactly what it was) then in second I was having breathing problem and felt like my brain was burst open due to the pressure. I was literately felt the death. Make a long story short, dr. kept injecting shots (don’t know what) and every time he injected each shot, the symptoms were changed from closing the airway to pressure on my chest to feeling of enormous pressure in brain and it went on for about 20 min. After subsided a little, I was ended up staying at the emergency room afterwords until the next morning. I still can feel of near death experience and it scares me until these days and I would not want to go there again.

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