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The efficacy and adverse effects of dicobalt edetate in cyanide poisoning

Marrs, Timothy Clive and Thompson, John Paul 2016. The efficacy and adverse effects of dicobalt edetate in cyanide poisoning. Clinical Toxicology 54 (8) , pp. 609-614. 10.1080/15563650.2016.1186804

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Introduction: Dicobalt edetate is one of a number of cobalt compounds that have been studied in the treatment of cyanide poisoning, their efficacy being based upon the fact that cyanide combines with cobalt to form relatively non-toxic complexes. Inorganic cobalt salts are quite toxic (cyanide and cobalt antagonise one another's toxicity) and complexes such as dicobalt edetate were studied with the aim of identifying compounds that were less acutely toxic, but which retained the antidotal properties of cobalt salts. The proprietary preparation, Kelocyanor™, contains free cobalt and glucose as well as dicobalt edetate. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the published evidence for the efficacy and adverse effects of dicobalt edetate. Methods: A Pubmed search was undertaken for the period 1961–September 2015. The search terms were “dicobalt edetate”, “cobalt edetate” and “Kelocyanor”, which produced 24 relevant citations. A review of the references in four relevant books (L'intoxication cyanhydrique et son traitement, Clinical and Experimental Toxicology of Cyanides, Antidotes for Poisoning by Cyanide and Antidotes) produced three further relevant papers, making a total of 27 papers. Efficacy of dicobalt edetate: There is evidence from animal pharmacodynamic studies that dicobalt edetate is an effective cyanide antidote in experimental animals. Some 39 cases of human poisoning treated with dicobalt edetate have been reported, but in only nine cases were blood cyanide concentrations measured, although administration of dicobalt edetate procured survival in four of the seven patients with concentrations in the lethal range (>3.0 mg/L). It is unlikely that death in any of the adequately documented fatal cases was attributable to treatment failure with dicobalt edetate, as it is probable that they all had suffered anoxic brain damage before treatment could be initiated. Furthermore, in one case, acute gold toxicity contributed substantially to death. Adverse effects of dicobalt edetate: Adverse effects reported have included hypertension, tachycardia, nausea, retrosternal pain, sweating, palpebral, facial and laryngeal oedema, vomiting, urticaria and/or a feeling of impending doom. Such effects appear to be more prevalent where the antidote has been administered without evidence of substantial systemic poisoning or where other antidotes have been used which might have been expected also to combine with cyanide. Although the adverse effects observed were doubtless unpleasant, and some were severe, no fatal reactions were found. Conclusions: Dicobalt edetate is an effective cyanide antidote when given to patients with systemic cyanide poisoning, but it has the potential to give rise to adverse reactions, particularly when administered in the absence of intoxication

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cobalt; cyanide; dicobalt edetate; Kelocyanor™; poisoning.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1556-3650
Date of Acceptance: 2 May 2016
Last Modified: 22 May 2022 08:12

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