Safety of Iohexol Administration to Measure Glomerular Filtration Rate in Different Patient Populations: A 25-Year Experience

Flavio Gaspari, Surabhi Thakar, Fabiola Carrara, Annalisa Perna, Matias Trillini, Maria Carolina Aparicio, Olimpia Diadei, Silvia Ferrari, Antonio Cannata, Nadia Stucchi, Piero Ruggenenti, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Norberto Perico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background/Aim: In clinical research setting, accurate and precise measurement of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is essential to overcome the limitations of GFR estimation with equations, which are often unreliable. In recent decades, a method for measuring GFR by plasma clearance of iohexol, a non-ionic radiocontrast agent, was developed. To evaluate the safety of the procedure, we aimed to review all immediate adverse reactions that could be related to iohexol administration in our group's 25 years worth of experience. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all GFR investigations in 2,891 patients, between 1992 and 2016, as part of 37 clinical trials coordinated by our group. Subjects with disparate renal diseases, kidney transplant recipients, and living donors - all with different renal function categories - were included in the surveyed clinical trials. Results: During 15,147 GFR measurements, only one treatment-related event of moderate intensity was identified. Flushing, urticaria, and itching were observed in a diabetic patient a few minutes after iohexol administration during the first GFR measurement. The event recovered without sequelae after intravenous injection of methylprednisolone sodium succinate. The patient was not hospitalized and the event was categorized as non-serious. Eight additional non-serious events observed closely following iohexol injection were considered as not related to treatment. Thus, independent of disease conditions and GFR categories, the overall rate of treatment-related events was 0.0066%. Conclusion: Iohexol administration for GFR measurement is a safe procedure, even in repeated investigations in the same subject, that should be adopted in clinical research and, when needed, also in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Adverse reactions
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Iohexol


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