Skip to Content
Home > Health Information > Health Library > Chelation therapy
Chelation (say "key-LAY-shun") therapy is a medicine treatment for removing poisonous metals, such as lead, from the body. It also may be used to remove excess iron from the blood.
During chelation therapy, the person takes or has an injection of a medicine (chelating agent) that binds to the metal. The medicine and metal are then removed from the body through the urine. Chelation therapy also removes metals (like iron) that the body needs. So chelation therapy must be done carefully.
Chelation therapy can be used to treat severe lead poisoning. It also may be used to treat iron overload in people who need frequent blood transfusions, which can create organ-damaging excesses of iron. (People who have conditions such as thalassemia often receive blood transfusion therapy.) Also, people with hemochromatosis may sometimes need chelation therapy to reduce iron excess in their blood.
Current as of: November 8, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & R. Steven Tharratt MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
See important information from Billings Clinic on Non-discrimination and Interpreter Services.
Billings Clinic is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action (EOE/AA) e-verify employer.