The Aword

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In 1998 Ribeiro and Reis (Portugal) described arachnoiditis as

"rarely idiopathic".

They stated:

"oil-based intra-thoracic contrast agents (Pantopaque) were associated with Arachnoiditis especially when the material was introduced into the thecal sac and mixed with blood."([1])

A US court case, Staub vs. Eastman Kodak, Alcon and Lafayette, failed in the same year.

Also in 1998, the FDA Division of Epidemiology and Surveillance Database, in a report dated 17th. June, noted the following: of 334 notifications involving patients exposed to iophendylate (Pantopaque) reported to them, 275 were later diagnosed as being a ?cause-effect' of exposure to iophendylate (i.e. 82% were shown to be directly related to the dye).

Meanwhile, in the UK, an individual referred to in documents as


wrote to the Secretary of State for Health, requesting information about Myodil.

He later also approached the Prime Minister in written correspondence, receiving a response from the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) who proved somewhat obstructive.

Accordingly, Mr.A took the matter further and the case was referred to the Ombudsman, being later reviewed by the Parliamentary Committee (case No. A 13/99).

In March of 1998, MP Tim Collins raised the issue of Myodil-induced arachnoiditis in Parliament.

He explained the condition to the House of Commons and made it clear that further investigation was necessary.

At that time, his request for data on the incidence of arachnoiditis in the UK elicited the response that information on the number of cases of adhesive arachnoiditis in the preceding 20 years was "not available". (Official Report, 12 Jan. 1998; Vol. 304 c.152)

Although Baroness Jay had acknowledged that the Department of Health recognised

"the association between the use of Myodil in myelography and the development of arachnoiditis",

and that warnings about this had been included in product information, the Department decided in late 1997, not to institute an inquiry into this issue.

This decision was reiterated on Feb. 1, 1999, when the DOH concluded, after the 

"fullest consideration"

that neither Public Inquiry nor Government compensation was warranted.

[1] Ribeiro C, Reis FC. Acta Med Port. 1998 Jan; 11(1): 59-65 [Adhesive lumbar arachnoiditis]