Contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) is a well-known adverse event of therapeutic and diagnostic procedures requiring the adminstration of contrast medium (CM). The lack of a universal CIN definition and glomerular filtration rate markers that vary have resulted in a variety of reported incidences. The development of CIN is associated with an increase in the length of hospital stay and the risk of death. Preexisting renal dysfunction, age, diabetes, congestive heart failure and the volume of CM administered are all associated with a risk for developing CIN. The literature suggests the use of low-osmolarity CM and supports volume supplementation before administration. Moreover, other strategies to avoid CIN, including treatment with N-acetylcisteine and sodium bicarbonate have variable levels of evidence. This review examines the main components of the pathogenesis and risk factors of CIN and possible preventive measures and therapies.