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Immediate hypersensitivity reactions to radiocontrast media: Prevention of recurrent reactions

Sandra J Hong, MD
Sachiko T Cochran, MD
Section Editor
N Franklin Adkinson, Jr, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna M Feldweg, MD


A patient who has experienced an immediate hypersensitivity reaction (IHR) to radiocontrast media (RCM) is at increased risk for a recurrent IHR with the next exposure to RCM. Measures to prevent recurrent reactions to RCM in patients with past IHRs will be discussed in this topic review. The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of IHRs are discussed separately. (See "Immediate hypersensitivity reactions to radiocontrast media: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment".)


Any patient reporting an "allergy" to radiocontrast medium (RCM) should be carefully questioned to determine whether the past reaction was consistent with an immediate hypersensitivity reaction (IHR) or another type of reaction. The recommendations described here are only intended for prevention of recurrent IHRs.

IHRs to RCM develop within one hour of administration, and many begin within five minutes. IHRs have signs and symptoms that are similar or identical to those of anaphylaxis, including the following:




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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: May 26, 2016.
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