October 7, 2015
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Side Effects


Adverse reactions following the use of iopamidol are usually mild to moderate, self-limited, and transient.

In angiocardiography (597 patients), the adverse reactions with an estimated incidence of one percent or higher are: hot flashes 3.4%; angina pectoris 3.0%; flushing 1.8%; bradycardia 1.3%; hypotension 1.0%; hives 1.0%.

In a clinical trial with 76 pediatric patients undergoing angiocardiography, 2 adverse reactions (2.6%) both remotely attributed to the contrast media were reported. Both patients were less than 2 years of age, both had cyanotic heart disease with underlying right ventricular abnormalities and abnormal pulmonary circulation. In one patient pre-existing cyanosis was transiently intensified following contrast media administration. In the second patient pre-existing decreased peripheral perfusion was intensified for 24 hours following the examination. (See “PRECAUTIONS” Section for information on high risk nature of these patients.)

Intravascular injection of contrast media is frequently associated with the sensation of warmth and pain especially in peripheral arteriography and venography; pain and warmth are less frequent and less severe with ISOVUE (lopamidol Injection) than with diatrizoate meglumine and diatrizoate sodium injection.

The following table of incidence of reactions is based on clinical studies with ISOVUE in about 2246 patients.

Adverse Reactions

Estimated Overall Incidence
System > 1% ≤ 1%
Cardiovascular none tachycardia
myocardial ischemia
circulatory collapse
S-T segment depression
ventricular fibrillation
angina pectoris
transient ischemic attack
Nervous pain (2.8%)
burning sensation (1.4%)
vasovagal reaction
tingling in arms
Digestive nausea (1.2%) vomiting
Respiratory none throat constriction
pulmonary edema
Skin and Appendages none rash
Body as a Whole hot flashes (1.5%) headache
back spasm
Special Senses warmth (1.1%) taste alterations
nasal congestion
visual disturbances
Urogenital none urinary retention

Regardless of the contrast agent employed, the overall estimated incidence of serious adverse reactions is higher with coronary arteriography than with other procedures. Cardiac decompensation, serious arrhythmias, or myocardial ischemia or infarction have been reported with Isovue and may occur during coronary arteriography and left ventriculography.

Following coronary and ventricular injections, certain electrocardiographic changes (increased QTc, increased R-R, T-wave amplitude) and certain hemodynamic changes (decreased systolic pressure) occurred less frequently with ISOVUE (lopamidol Injection) than with diatrizoate meglumine and diatrizoate sodium injection; increased LVEDP occurred less frequently after ventricular iopamidol injections.

In aortography, the risks of procedures also include injury to the aorta and neighboring organs, pleural puncture, renal damage including infarction and acute tabular necrosis with oliguria and anuria, accidental selective filling of the right renal artery during the translumbar procedure in the presence of pre-existing renal disease, retroperitoneal hemorrhage from the translumbar approach, and spinal cord injury and pathology associated with the syndrome of transverse myelitis.

The following adverse reactions have been reported for lopamidol: Cardiovascular: arrhythmia, arterial spasms, flushing, vasodilation, chest pain, cardiopulmonary arrest; Nervous: confusion, paresthesia, dizziness, temporary cortical blindness, temporary amnesia, convulsions, paralysis, coma; Respiratory: increased cough, sneezing, asthma, apnea, laryngeal edema, chest tightness, rhinitis; Skin and Appendages: injection site pain usually due to extravasation and/or erythematous swelling, pallor, periorbital edema, facial edema; Urogenital: pain, hematuria; Special Senses: watery itchy eyes, lacrimation, conjunctivitis; Musculoskeletal: muscle spasm, involuntary leg movement; Body as a whole: tremors, malaise, anaphylactoid reaction (characterized by cardiovascular, respiratory and cutaneous symptoms), pain; Digestive: severe retching and choking, abdominal cramps. Some of these may occur as a consequence of the procedure. Other reactions may also occur with the use of any contrast agent as a consequence of the procedural hazard; these include hemorrhage or pseudoaneurysms at the puncture site, brachial plexus palsy following axillary artery injections, chest pain, myocardial infarction, and transient changes in hepatorenal chemistry tests. Arterial thrombosis, displacement of arterial plaques, venous thrombosis, dissection of the coronary vessels and transient sinus arrest are rare complications.

General Adverse Reactions To Contrast Media

Reactions known to occur with parenteral administration of iodinated ionic contrast agents (see the listing below) are possible with any nonionic agent. Approximately 95 percent of adverse reactions accompanying the use of other water-soluble intravascularly administered contrast agents are mild to moderate in degree. However, life-threatening reactions and fatalities, mostly of cardiovascular origin, have occurred. Reported incidences of death from the administration of other iodinated contrast media range from 6.6 per 1 million (0.00066 percent) to 1 in 10,000 patients (0.01 percent). Most deaths occur during injection or 5 to 10 minutes later, the main feature being cardiac arrest with cardiovascular disease as the main aggravating factor. Isolated reports of hypotensive collapse and shock are found in the literature. The incidence of shock is estimated to be 1 out of 20,000 (0.005 percent) patients.

Adverse reactions to injectable contrast media fall into two categories: chemotoxic reactions and idiosyncratic reactions. Chemotoxic reactions result from the physicochemical properties of the contrast medium, the dose, and the speed of injection. All hemodynamic disturbances and injuries to organs or vessels perfused by the contrast medium are included in this category.

Experience with iopamidol suggests there is much less discomfort (e.g. pain and/or warmth) with peripheral arteriography. Fewer changes are noted in ventricular function after ventriculography and coronary arteriography.

Idiosyncratic reactions include all other reactions. They occur more frequently in patients 20 to 40 years old. Idiosyncratic reactions may or may not be dependent on the amount of drug injected, the speed of injection, the mode of injection, and the radiographic procedure.

Idiosyncratic reactions are subdivided into minor, intermediate, and severe. The minor reactions are self-limited and of short duration; the severe reactions are life-threatening and treatment is urgent and mandatory.

The reported incidence of adverse reactions to contrast media in patients with a history of allergy is twice that for the general population. Patients with a history of previous reactions to a contrast medium are three times more susceptible than other patients. However, sensitivity to contrast media does not appear to increase with repeated examinations. Most adverse reactions to intravascular contrast agents appear within one to three minutes after the start of injection, but delayed reactions may occur. Delayed reactions, usually involving the skin, may uncommonly occur within 2-3 days (range 1-7 days) after the administration of contrast (see PRECAUTIONS - General). Delayed allergic reactions are more frequent in patients treated with immunostimulants, such as interleukin-2.

In addition to the adverse drug reactions reported for iopamidol, the following additional adverse reactions have been reported with the use of other intravascular contrast agents and are possible with the use of any water-soluble iodinated contrast agent:

Cardiovascular: cerebral hematomas, petechiae; Hematologic: neutropenia; Skin and Appendages: skin necrosis; Urogenital: osmotic nephrosis of proximal tubular cells, renal failure; Special Senses: conjunctival chemosis with infection; Endocrine: Thyroid function tests indicative of hypothyroidism or transient thyroid suppression have been uncommonly reported following iodinated contrast media administration to adult and pediatric patients, including infants. Some patients were treated for hypothyroidism.

Read the Isovue-M (iopamidol injection) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Renal toxicity has been reported in a few patients with liver dysfunction who were given oral cholecystographic agents followed by intravascular contrast agents. Administration of intravascular agents should therefore be postponed in any patient with a known or suspected hepatic or biliary disorder who has recently received a cholecystographic contrast agent.

Other drugs should not be admixed with iopamidol.

Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions

The results of PBI and radioactive iodine uptake studies, which depend on iodine estimations, will not accurately reflect thyroid function for up to 16 days following administration of iodinated contrast media. However, thyroid function tests not depending on iodine estimations, e.g., T3 resin uptake and total or free thyroxine (T4) assays are not affected.

Any test which might be affected by contrast media should be performed prior to administration of the contrast medium.

Laboratory Test Findings

In vitro studies with animal blood showed that many radiopaque contrast agents, including iopamidol, produced a slight depression of plasma coagulation factors including prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time, and fibrinogen, as well as a slight tendency to cause platelet and/or red blood cell aggregation (see PRECAUTIONS - General).

Transitory changes may occur in red cell and leucocyte counts, serum calcium, serum creatinine, serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT), and uric acid in urine; transient albuminuria may occur.

These findings have not been associated with clinical manifestations.

Last reviewed on RxList: 7/29/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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