Chelation Therapy: Life-Saving Alternative Treatment?
Monday, February 6, 2017
Posted by: Administration
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For someone who has diabetes, and has also already suffered a heart problem, the chances for another heart attack, stroke or sudden death are very high.
The government has now funded a new clinical trial.
It could lead to a new way to treat heart disease, or it could prove skeptics right.
Fifty-eight-year-old Lorrie Entwistle is hoping an infusion, given as part of a clinical trial, will help protect her heart.
"I have 17 grandchildren and I want to be around here for them," said Entwistle of Riverside, New Jersey.
Heart disease runs in her family. Both her grandfathers died of a heart attack. Her parents also have heart disease.
She suffered her first heart attack at age 47. She also has diabetes, which puts her at an even greater risk for more problems.
Dr. Allan Magaziner in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is now one of several doctors nationwide involved in a trial to see if chelation can help.
Chelation means to "bind to". The treatment uses an intravenous solution that binds to heavy metals in the blood, such as from industrial pollution. The body then flushes them out.
It's only FDA approved to treat lead poisoning.
But it's been given for years as an alternative therapy for many other uses, including heart disease.
"The theory is by ridding the body of these heavy metals, the body will then function much better," said Dr. Allan Magaziner, Magaziner Center for Wellness.
The theory is not proven, but it's getting another look after results of the first TACT trial to assess chelation therapy were published a few years ago.
"It was very surprising to everyone once we teased out the data," said Dr. Magaziner.
The biggest benefit was in heart patients who were also diabetic.
- A 50 percent reduction in recurrent heart attacks.
- A 43 percent reduction in deaths.
The NIH has now funded TACT 2, a $37 million double-blind trial to see if TACT 1 results can be replicated.
There are still plenty of skeptics, including Dr. Douglas Jacoby, a preventative cardiologist at Penn Medicine.
Like many, he doesn't buy into the theory, and as for the first trial, he says, "the issue is most of us still don't believe the results." He says there were technical issues and it's just one trial. He doesn't object to patients enrolling in TACT 2, but he emphasizes sticking to things that are proven to reduce risk.
"A heart healthy lifestyle is important. Exercise can lower risk as much as chelation therapy did. Healthy diet is important and medicines are important," said Dr. Douglas Jacoby, Penn Medicine.
Like all patients in the trial, Entwistle doesn't know if she's getting chelation or placebo. Patients get one three-hour-long infusion each week for 40 weeks, along with vitamins.
"If I am getting chelation, I believe that it will help me," said Entwistle.
"If the results are as effective in the TACT 2 trial as compared to TACT 1, it could change the scope of how we treat heart disease," said Dr. Magaziner. "This may be a preventable way to reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, sudden death in millions and millions of Americans."
Most experts agree chelation is relatively safe if done as part of a clinical trial.
They are still looking for volunteers. You must be at least 50 years old, have diabetes and experienced a prior heart attack.
For more details, contact the Magaziner Center for Wellness at 856-424-8222.