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December 1961

Chelation Therapy in Cutaneous Porphyria: A Review and Report of a Five-Year Recovery

Author Affiliations


From the University Hospitals, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; Instructor in Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Medical School (Dr. Woods); Associate Professor of Neuropsychiatry (Dr. Peters); Professor of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin Medical School (Dr. Johnson).

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(6):920-927. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580180036004

Porphyria cutanea tarda is a disease of porphyrin metabolism associated with vesiculobullous eruptions on the sunlight-exposed surfaces of the skin after solar radiation, heat, or trauma, and often associated with pigmentation, shallow scarring, and hypertrichosis. Treatment in the past has primarily been aimed at avoidance of precipitants such as sunlight, hepatotoxic agents, and alcohol. Successful long-term recovery has not previously been reported.

Encouraging results with chelation therapy have been noted in the treatment of acute porphyria with abdomino-neurological-psychiatric symptomatology by Peters1-5 and others.6-9 The authors in 1958 reported on the first case of cutaneous porphyria successfully treated by calcium disodium edathamil (Calcium Disodium Versenate).10 This patient has now been studied longitudinally for a period of 8 years. The first 3 years, those prior to chelation therapy, were associated with severe and persistent manifestations of porphyria cutanea tarda. There has been a total absence of all symptomatology for

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