Chelation therapy

Chelation (pronounced key-LAY-shun) therapy is a medication treatment for removing poisonous metals, such as lead, from the body. It also may be used to remove excess iron from the blood.

During chelation therapy, the person takes or has an injection of a medication (chelating agent) that binds to the metal; the medication and metal are then removed from the body through the urine. Chelation therapy also removes metals (like iron) that the body needs; therefore, chelation therapy must be done carefully.

Chelation therapy can be used to treat severe lead poisoning. It also may be used to treat iron overload in people who need frequent blood transfusions, which can create organ-damaging excesses of iron. (People with conditions such as thalassemia often receive blood transfusion therapy.) In addition, people with hemochromatosis may occasionally require chelation therapy to reduce iron excess in their blood.

Last Updated: June 26, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care, Medical Toxicology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.