Iohexol (Omnipaque) and Iodixanol (Visipaque) Shortage

May 12, 2022

According to a communication from GE Healthcare, a shortage of iohexol (Omnipaque) is occurring as a result of the Chinese government lockdowns related to COVID-19. Secondarily to the iohexol (Omnipaque) shortage, the alternative agent, iodixanol (Visipaque), is in short supply due to an increase in demand. At the recommendation of GE Healthcare, distributors have implemented a 20% allocation on iohexol (Omnipaque) that is expected to continue through the remainder of this shortage. Nearly all of the U.S. supply for this product comes from the Shanghai plant. According to GE Healthcare, the supply impact is not related to quality, raw material supply, or supply chain issues. GE Healthcare will utilize their secondary manufacturing facility in Ireland to supplement U.S. labeled iohexol (Omnipaque) supply.

GE Healthcare has communicated that the impact is temporary, and the Shanghai facility is re-opened and ramping up production as allowed by local COVID-19 mitigation protocols. Total global production of iodine, excluding U.S. production data, was estimated at 32,000 metric tons in 2021 which is equivalent to pre-pandemic levels. GE Healthcare expects to have intermittent supply of iohexol (Omnipaque) until the end of June 2022 and does not have additional information on iodixanol (Visipaque) availability at this time. This mitigation strategy is intended to provide guidance for present and future shortages. Read the full announcement here.

SNMMI is hopeful this supply issue will soon be resolved, but reminds practitioners that radiopharmaceuticals remain available and are an excellent alternative for some diagnostic procedures.  For example, V/Q lung scanning should be considered as an alternative to CTA of the pulmonary arteries.  Similarly, stress cardiac nuclear studies including PET or SPECT may serve as excellent alternatives in some patients who are scheduled for cardiac CTA.

The American College of Radiology Committee on Drugs and Contrast Media has issued guidance on the contrast agent shortage and has suggested a number of strategies to conserve contrast media including delaying elective procedures.