Is there a risk using contrast with getting an MRI?
Typical contrast used for MRI is called gadolinium (a paramagnetic agent that comes across as bright on certain MRI sequences). This is usually fairly well tolerated, although there is a small risk for a drug reaction, and kidney injury. The kidney injury is not common, but can occur more frequently in individual with kidney impairment at the time of the gadolinium administration. Most institutions require a recent blood test (creatinine) to check kidney function prior to the MRI. It is also not recommended to receive multiple/frequent gadolinium-enhanced MRIs within a short period of time as this may increase the risk of kidney injury (or gadolinium associated nephrotoxicity). For the typical MS patient, this is not a significant concern.
A. Scott Nielsen MD MMSc
Virginia Mason Multiple Sclerosis Center