Drug information of edetate disodium

edetate disodium

Edetate disodium (EDTA) is a chelating (KEE-late-ing) agent. A chelating agent is capable of removing a heavy metal, such as lead or mercury, from the blood.

EDTA is used to lower blood levels of calcium when they have become dangerously high. EDTA is also used to control heart rhythm disturbances caused by a heart medication called digitalis (digoxin, Lanoxin).

Mechanism of effect

Edetate disodium anhydrous chelates divalent and trivalent ions such as magnesium, zinc, and calcium. The chelate is excreted in the urine, reducing concentrations of these ions in the blood


Edetate is almost completely unmetabolized in vivo
After intravenous administration, 95% of the dose is recovered in the urine after 24 hours. Oral administration in rats leads to 5.3% recovery in urine and 88.5% recovery in feces

Drug indications

Edetate disodium is indicated for emergency treatment of hypercalcemia and digitalis toxicity associated ventricular arrhythmias



Side effects

Tell your caregivers at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
feeling like you might pass out; or
severe blistering, peeling, or red skin rash.
Less serious side effects include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
numbness or tingling (especially around your mouth);
headache; or
pain, redness, or swelling where the needle is placed


You should not receive this medication if you are unable to urinate, or if you have arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries

If possible, before you receive EDTA, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
heart disease, congestive heart failure
a heart rhythm disorder
a history of seizures, brain tumor, or head injury
low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
if you take digitalis (digoxin, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps)

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall

Points of recommendation

EDTA is given in a hospital or emergency setting. The medicine must be given slowly through a needle placed in your vein. The infusion can take at least 3 hours to complete

If possible before you receive this medication, tell your caregivers if you have heart disease, congestive heart failure, a heart rhythm disorder, diabetes, low potassium (hypokalemia), or a history of seizures, brain tumor, or head injury

In an emergency situation, it may not be possible before you are treated with EDTA to tell your caregivers about any health conditions you have or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. However, make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows that you have received this medication

After treatment with EDTA, you will be watched to make sure the medication has been effective and you no longer have any effects of high calcium levels

EDTA is usually given for 5 days in a row, followed by 1 day off the medicine. This schedule is then repeated for as long as needed until blood calcium levels are lowered to a safe level

After you receive EDTA, you will need to remain lying down for a short time. Reversing high blood levels of calcium can cause a drop in your blood pressure. This can make you feel very light-headed or slow your breathing. You will need to be watched closely for these and other effects after you receive the medication

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood and urine will need to be tested often. This will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with EDTA

Pregnancy level


FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. If possible, tell your doctor if you are pregnant before you receive EDTA.

Breast feeding warning

It is not known whether EDTA passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. If possible, tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby

Drug forms

Disotate, Endrate, Meritate

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