Chelation therapy in cardiovascular disease: an update


Center for Integrative Research on Cardiovascular Aging and Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Sinai/Aurora St. Luke's Medical Centers


INTRODUCTION: The off-label use of chelation therapy (disodium edetate or EDTA) for prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is widespread, despite the lack of convincing evidence for efficacy or approval from the Food and Drug Administration. After the publication of results from the National Institute of Health-sponsored Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT), a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in patients after myocardial infarction (MI), there is a renewed interest in clarifying the role of this treatment modality for patients with coronary artery disease.

Areas covered: This narrative review highlights the evidence from observational studies and RCT in assessing the effect of chelation therapy on cardiovascular outcomes and potential for adverse effects or harm.

Expert commentary: Although encouraging results were reported in TACT, the evidence is insufficient to recommend the routine use of chelation therapy even in the post-MI diabetic subgroup, which appeared to benefit. The ongoing TACT2 trial may clarify its use in post-MI diabetic patients. Unsubstantiated claims of chelation therapy as an effective treatment of atherosclerosis should be avoided and patients made aware of the inadequate evidence for efficacy and potential adverse effects, especially the harm that can occur if used as a substitute for proven therapies.

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