The federal government and investigators have called off or suspended enrollment for 2 clinical trials testing chelation therapy as a treatment for autism or coronary artery disease. Critics charged that the studies had little scientific merit and exposed participants to unacceptable safety risks.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved chelating agents, which bind and remove heavy metals from the body, for treating acute toxicity of heavy metals. But, according to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), off-label uses of chelating agents contribute to an estimated 800 000 physician visits annually.
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