Over-the-Counter Chelation Products Are Dangerous

Chelation, an alternative remedy, can cause serious damage.

Over-the-Counter Chelation Products Are Dangerous

Chelation, an alternative remedy, can cause serious damage.

-Jane Farrell

A woman holding pills

The federal government has cracked down on companies that sell “chelation” products, saying that it is a violation of law to make unproven claims about the product’s ability to cure diseases. The federal Food and Drug Administration stressed that there is no approved over-the-counter chelation product.

The products, sold in health stores and on hundreds of alternative medicine websites, claim to treat a variety of disorders including autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration and heart disease. They also claim to rid the body of “excess metals.” Available in pill and suppository form, chelation products are often expensive (one site lists 30 suppositories for $199).

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“These products are dangerously misleading because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions and limited treatment options,” Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an FDA press release. There are FDA-approved, prescription-only chelation products, but they are used only in cases of lead poisoning and iron overload. And because there are serious risks even with the prescription-only products, (dehydration, kidney failure, even death) the FDA says “procedures involving these agents should be performed only under medical supervision.”

The FDA has focused on eight companies that sell the products, telling them in the letter that if they don’t change their claims, they will face “legal action.” The companies are World Health Products; Hormonal Health; Evenbetternow; Maxam Nutraceutics/Maxam Laboratories; Cardio Renew, Inc.; Artery Health Institute; Longevity Plus; and Dr. Rhonda Henry.

Be sure to check with your doctor before using any over-the-counter remedy or medicine. The FDA asked both patients and health-care professions to report any adverse effects of over-the-counter chelation products by filling out the form at www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm. (fda)

Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.

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