Which chelating agents are used in the treatment of mercury toxicity?

Updated: Nov 05, 2018
  • Author: David A Olson, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

Chelating agents contain thiol groups, which bind to mercury. For acute, inorganic toxicity, dimercaprol (British antilewisite [BAL]) has traditionally been recommended, but oral agents are gaining prominence. Chelation with 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA or succimer) has been shown to result in increased mercury excretion, compared with N -acetyl-D,L-penicillamine, in adults with acute mercury vapor exposure. DMSA is generally well tolerated and has also demonstrated efficacy in children exposed to mercury. Chelation treatment may be administered in the outpatient setting with an oral chelator, such as DMSA. [93]


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