Chelation therapy is used as a treatment for acute mercury, iron (including in cases of thalassemia), arsenic, lead, uranium, plutonium and other forms of toxic metal poisoning. The chelating agent may be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or orally, depending on the agent and the type of poisoning.One example of successful chelation therapy is the case of Harold McCluskey, a nuclear worker who became badly contaminated with americium in 1976. He was treated with diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) over many years, removing 41 MBq (1.1 mCi) of americium from his body. His death, 11 years later, was from unrelated causes.
Some alternative practitioners use chelation to treat hardening of the arteries. The use of EDTA chelation therapy as a treatment for coronary artery disease is currently being studied by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, but no claims or findings are expected before 2009. Chelation therapy is not approved by the FDA to treat coronary artery disease. The American Heart Association contends that there is currently “no scientific evidence to demonstrate any benefit from this form of therapy” and that the “United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American College of Cardiology all agree with the American Heart Association” that “there have been no adequate, controlled, published scientific studies using currently approved scientific methodology to support this therapy for cardiovascular disease.
Drug detoxification is a collective of interventions directed at controlling acute drug intoxication and drug withdrawal. It refers to a purging of the substance of abuse from a patient’s body that is acutely under the influence or dependent on the substance to which they are addicted to. The process of detoxification aims at lessening the physical effects caused by the additive substances. Detoxification programs do not necessarily treat the other implications of drug addiction: namely, psychological aspects of addiction, social factors, and the often complex behavioral issues that are intermingled with addiction.