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Chelation therapy

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • CaEDTA, calcium disodium versenate, calcium ethylenediaminetetra-acetate, calcium versenate, CaNa (2) EDTA, CaNa2 ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid, CaNa2EDTA, disodium EDTA, disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate, edetate, edetate calcium disodium, edetic acid, EDTA, Endrate, ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) therapy, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid.
  • Note: The term "chelation" is used in general to refer to the use of any chemical in the blood to remove specific contaminants or toxins. This monograph pertains to EDTA, the most commonly used substance.
  • Note: EDTA has different variations of the chemical name. Examples are calcium versenate, disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate, calcium disodium versenate, CaNa (2) EDTA, CaNa2EDTA, CaEDTA, CaNa2 ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, edetate calcium disodium, and calcium ethylenediaminetetraacetate.
  • Not included in this review: Other substances reputed to have chelating effects including BAL (British Anti-Lewisite or dimercaprol), deferoxamine, dexrazoxane, DMPS (2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid), DMSA (meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic or succimer), 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid, penicillamine (b,b-dimethylcysteine), deferoxamine (Desferol, used to treat iron overload from multiple transfusions), and some herbal substances.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelation was first used in the 1940s for lead poisoning and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this use in 1953.
  • Some clinicians who were using the substance for lead poisoning reported cases in which patients with cardiovascular diseases claimed side benefits for those conditions.
  • While there is theoretical rationale for use with cardiovascular diseases, namely removal of calcium from the cardiovascular tissues and plaque, there are conflicting data on this use. There is inconclusive evidence for its use in treating atherosclerosis, diabetic nephropathy, eye disorders, ovarian cancer, scleroderma, and hexachlorobenzene toxicity. It has also been used in treating kidney dysfunction.
  • Well-designed, placebo controlled clinical trials do show benefits of chelation therapy, but these benefits are identical to those seen in the placebo group. Furthermore, there are a lack of objective cardiovascular benefits, such as changes in angiograms or ultrasound tests showing decreases in occlusion of blood vessels.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.