Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Dangers of Chelation Therapy

Thursday, 15 September 2011 08:41 AM

Question: You have said you do not recommend chelaton, but were you referring to IV or oral? Is oral effective?
Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Chelation therapy has a selected role for poisoning and toxic exposure only. The use of intravenous chelation for preventive care and lipid management has been proposed for years and is generally frowned upon due to adverse risk/benefit ratios. In many states that have strict rules, its proponents can be sure of losing their license to practice medicine.

The use of oral chelation necessarily binds multiple nutrients and many medications. While the use of adjuvants such as bile acid sequestants are effective and approved for patient use, the use of other agents needs to be reviewed individually with your doctor. They may contain bulk agents such as psyllium that also will reduce lipids by 10 percent (psyllium is recommended), or they may contain EDTA or other chelation agents that have no role in long-term lipid control or preventive care programs.

The use of intravenous chelation is not for preventive cardiac care. It is true that while some studies may show lipid reduction with some chelation strategies, the benefits are only present during the actual chelation process. It is generally unsafe to chelate daily since you are also binding out trace elements and many or all of your medications as well as other serum components. You are possibly setting yourself up for deficiencies, a loss of control and advancement of underlying disease that you are taking medications to control, as well as possible cardiac arrythmias.

Chelation therapy has a high price tag attached to it as well as a flurry of misinformation and salesmanship. It must be reviewed by your primary care physician before you ever consider it.

High-pressure sales tactics in medicine that are not covered by your health plan are also usually associated with unrecognized and ineffective treatments. Remember that chelation for preventive cardiac or lipid care is not "new," and it is not recognized by insurance due to adverse risk/benefit ratios.

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