Which medications are indicated in the treatment of heavy metal toxicity?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Adefris Adal, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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The most important therapeutic maneuver in many cases of metal toxicity is to remove the source of exposure.

Chelation regimens have been shown to enhance elimination of some metals, and thereby decrease the total body burden. See the Table for a list of accepted chelation agents for specific metals.

There is evidence of no benefit with chelation therapy for several metals, and evidence of increased toxicity after chelation of several others (eg, selenium). Therefore, routine chelation of patients with heavy metal exposure cannot be recommended, and the decision to chelate should be made in conjunction with a medical toxicologist or local poison control center.

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