RISKS AND BENEFITS OF EDTA

The number of clinicians using IV ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) for profit in our area is proliferating. Claims for conditions that might benefit range from mercury toxicity to arteriosclerotic vessel disease. Are there any proven benefits to use of EDTA? On the flip side, are there any real untoward effects?
—William G. Morris, MD, Athens, Tenn.

The use of EDTA in the treatment of heavy-metal poisoning, particularly lead poisoning, is of known efficacy (Ann Intern Med. 1999;130:7-13). However, other than anecdotal recommendations based on uncontrolled observational data, there is almost no evidence that supports the use of chelation therapy with EDTA for the treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In contrast, the numerous adverse effects of EDTA are well defined, chief of which is nephropathy. Given the known risks and absence of controlled data supporting the use of EDTA for CVD, the author of one review of the published literature on this topic concluded that “this treatment should now be considered obsolete” (Am Heart J. 2000;140:139-141).
—Daniel G. Tobin, MD (113-15)

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