Author(s): Bradberry S, Vale A
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: This article reviews the experimental and clinical studies that have compared the efficacy (impact on urine lead excretion, blood and tissue lead concentrations, resolution of features and survival) of sodium calcium edetate (edetate calcium disodium) and succimer (DMSA) in the treatment of inorganic lead poisoning. It also summarizes the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic aspects and the adverse effects of treatment. METHODS: Medline, Toxline, and Embase were searched for all available years to June 2009. PHARMACOKINETICS AND PHARMACODYNAMICS: The absorption of oral DMSA is more complete than sodium calcium edetate; the latter has to be administered parenterally. Both antidotes are distributed predominantly extracellularly. Sodium calcium edetate is not metabolized, whereas DMSA is extensively metabolized to mixed disulfides of cysteine. The two antidotes have elimination half-lives of less than 60 min. There is no evidence that either antidote crosses the blood-brain barrier to any major extent. Sodium calcium edetate chelates lead by displacement of the central Ca2+ ion with Pb2+. The nature of the DMSA-lead chelate is less clearly defined. There is evidence that the mixed disulfides of cysteine are the active chelating moiety in humans. If this is the case, this suggests that chelation occurs principally, if not exclusively, in the kidney. The primary source of lead mobilized by sodium calcium edetate is bone with an additional contribution from kidney and liver. EFFICACY: Comparison of the experimental studies is complicated by substantial variations in study design, particularly the antidote dose, the route and duration of treatment, the amount and duration of lead dosing, and lack of direct comparison between antidotes (comparison was usually made with control). In experimental studies that used equimolar and clinically relevant antidote doses and assessed the impact of DMSA and sodium calcium edetate on urine lead excretion and/or blood lead concentrations, similar results were found, though no direct comparison between antidotes was undertaken. DMSA was more effective than sodium calcium edetate in reducing the kidney lead concentration, sodium calcium edetate was more effective than DMSA in reducing bone lead concentrations, and there was no consistently observed effect of chelation therapy on brain lead concentrations in these experimental studies. Only two clinical studies have compared equimolar or similar antidote doses in enhancing urine lead excretion; there was no statistical difference between the antidotes, though both studies had limitations. DMSA and sodium calcium edetate had a comparable impact on lowering blood lead concentrations in a clinical study using similar molar antidote doses. ADVERSE EFFECTS: Sodium calcium edetate causes dose-related nephrotoxicity. Both agents deplete zinc and copper, the effect on zinc being significantly greater with sodium calcium edetate. A transient increase in hepatic transaminase activity has been reported with both antidotes but appears to be more common with DMSA and neither has been associated with clinically significant hepatic toxicity. Skin lesions during treatment with sodium calcium edetate are unusual and have been attributed to zinc deficiency. DMSA has occasionally been associated with a severe mucocutaneous reaction necessitating discontinuation of therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Oral DMSA and parenteral sodium calcium edetate are both effective chelators of lead. There are currently insufficient data, however, to conclude that either antidote is superior in enhancing lead excretion. Both antidotes resolve the symptoms of moderate and severe lead toxicity rapidly. Although there is greater clinical experience with sodium calcium edetate, particularly in the treatment of lead encephalopathy, oral DMSA may now be considered as an alternative in circumstances where oral therapy is preferable.
This article was published in Clin Toxicol (Phila)
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology