Chelating Agents for Lead Poisoning
Succimer is given by mouth. Most other chelating agents are given by injection.
Penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen) is a chelation agent that is not used very much. It may help treat children who have low blood lead levels.
How It Works
Why It Is Used
Chelating agents may be used if:
How Well It Works
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of all chelating agents include:
Other side effects of BAL include:
Other side effects of calcium EDTA include:
Other side effects of succimer include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Lead sources in your home or workplace must be removed or reduced—or you need to be moved to a lead-safe home—before you have chelation. If this is not possible, you may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.
You may need more than one course of treatment to reduce blood lead levels. How long each treatment lasts depends on your symptoms and the drug used. One course can range from a few days to a few months.
It's important to drink plenty of fluids while you are taking succimer.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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