Dr. Rashid Buttar Speaks on the Dangers of DMSA

Posted on Aug 13, 2008 in Autism, Heavy Metals

Dr. Buttar was recently asked:

Dear Dr. Buttar,

I beg you to fight on this one! The National Institutes of Health should have known from the beginning that DMSA has been already been determined years ago that it is a Neuro-Toxin. Why on earth are they trying to inform us something that we “Parents” already know! Are they trying to sabotage chelation therapy to the point that every parent in the world starts to question it? They could have used DMPS, EDTA, I mean they could have used the Transdermal form for all I care. However, they chose to use DMSA. Please elaborate on DMSA if I am incorrect. Please help us inderstand how chelation actually works and why we should not use DMSA. Thank you so much for your time.


EnigmAutism Editor

Dr. Buttar Replies:

Dear friend,

This is a long answer to your question but one that is a very important issue which I have spent time discussing at every conference in every country I have lectured in, at least those lectures revolving around the subject of autism and metal toxicity. In fact, in the Autism DVD that we have (Autism, The Misdiagnosis of Our Future Generations), I spend at least 10 minutes explaining the science of why DMSA is dangerous to use and why I stopped using it in 2001 when I became aware of this.

While talking to Boyd Haley during a heavy metal toxicity workshop I was putting on sometime around 2002, I mentioned how DMSA had simply not been clinically validated in my experience during the period of time I used it and in fact, I saw some untoward effects. When I mentioned DMSA, Boyd’s response was that of course it would not work because it was a neurotoxin. That was when I first heard about the potential negative side effects of DMSA, although I had already stopped using DMSA a few years earlier due to lack of observable efficacy.

Essentially, it appears the mechanism being referred to where DMSA causes a problem is via a competitive inhibition caused by DMSA with an enzyme in the citric acid cycle which utilizes succinic acid as a substrate. I reviewed the basic chemistry a number of times before I fully understood the biochemical reason to support my clinical observations as to the lack of efficacy observed with DMSA in treating children with Autism and the apparent detriment that appears to occur including, bunt not limited to signs of neurotoxicity.

To review the basic biochemistry so as to help you understand the essence of this argument, DMSA stands for dimercapto-succinic acid. Succinic acid is a major substrate in the citric acid cycle and DMSA is an analog of succinic acid. In fact, the only morphological difference between DMSA and succinic acid is that DMSA has two sulfhydryl groups in place of two hydroxyl groups in succinic acid. Therefore, DMSA would most likely act as an inhibitor of the enzyme in the citric acid cycle that uses succinic acid as a substrate via the mechanism of competitive inhibition.

This would result in DMSA actually acting as a substance that would compete with the succinic acid by utilizing at least half the amount of enzyme which acts on the succinic acid (ie, the competitive inhibition). It just so happens that succinic acid is the MOST important subtrate in the citric acid cycle (Krebb’s cycle) and in turn, any decrease in the utilization of succinic acid would lead to a slowing down of, or inhibition of the citric acid cycle.

Succinate or succinic acid produces FADH2 which is directly coupled to the electron transport chain which eventually leads to ATP production. The competitive inhibition of this succinic acid by DMSA would thus, result in an eventual inhibition of ATP production, which is the cellular source of fuel. Any decrease in ATP production will lead to a decreased energy utilization capacity causing a significant physiological burden and impaired ability of the biological system to function properly.

This is why in my opinion, any discriminating and judicious physician will NOT use DMSA if treating a child with metal toxicity, especially given the light that a developing brain is far more susceptible than a fully developed one for instance. But the most concerning part is that all the organizations supposedly “dedicated” to treating autism, like DAN and ACAM, have miserably failed at this task of disseminating this crucial information. Instead of telling the truth about the DMSA (that it is a neurotoxin and in fact, DMSA does not even fit the scientific description of a true chelator and that DMPS is the far superior chelator to use), have done exactly the opposite and created and spread misinformation.

Why? Because DMSA is readily available and is approved for lead toxicity, approved by the same organization (FDA) that also approves the use of thimerasol. Hmmm? And it is the same agency that apparently is against the use of DMPS in a manufactured form. The FDA only reluctantly allows it to be compounded, not manufactured. The difference is that manufacturing can be done on a large scale…compounding can only be done if a doctor specifically asks for it to be made for a specific patient. So the FDA slows down the distribution of the one chelator that has been clearly shown to have true benefit against Mercury

When I testified in front of Congress, that is one thing that was brought up, the use of DMSA, and I told Congressman Dan Burton that I was aggressively against the use of DMSA because it is a neurotoxin. So then, why do organizations such as ACAM and DAN recommend DMSA and not things that actually work like DMPS? Hopefully they have changed their stance but many are still using DMSA.

Simple. Because they have been led in the last few years by some very egocentric and pathetic individuals that actually sit in positions of leadership of both organizations who are motivated by FEAR. They recommend DMSA because it is “legal” and they will not use DMPS because, according to the information put out by ACAM in their newsletter 2 years ago, it is “illegal”. The fact is that DMPS has always been legal, and if it wasn’t, you couldn’t get it from any compounding pharmacy.

I have been told in confidence by a number of people treating autism, some who have asked me to take care of their patients, that the reason they don’t use DMPS is because they are “AFRAID” of the ramifications from the medical boards. Even Stephani Cave in her book clearly admits that DMPS is clearly far more effective than DMSA.

We both lectured at a Legal conference in Charlotte, a few years before I became “known” in this field, sometime in 2001 or 2002. Dr. Cave and I were the only 2 speakers at this legal conference for attorneys interested in the issue of representing parents with children injured by vaccines. After Dr. Cave spoke, she was asked why she used DMSA by an attorney in the audience. She answered, because it is “approved” and I don’t have to worry about the medical board coming after me.

I was then asked, when I came up to speak, why I used DMPS. My response was because it was “effective” and was the only thing I had found to actually work. Believe me, I wish DMSA did work and was safe, but it’s not. My life would be much easier if that was the case because then I would not have been ostracized. But it’s DMPS that is safe and effective, NOT DMSA!

I could have jumped on the band wagon about DMSA but it wasn’t the truth. And of course, if you speak the truth and say it in the venues of others, they first try to censor you, and after that fails, they don’t invite you back to lecture in their venues, despite demand and requests by the medical community and the patients. And then, they have others in their venues say negative things.

The unfortunate thing however, is that the information that could benefit these injured children is what is prevented from being disseminated. Those who are already suffering, end up suffering more because of ego and the need for these organizations to “be correct”. They are the ones who are really losing out.

I pissed many people off when I would not back down of the DMPS issue. The FDA created issues when we started making TD-DMPS because we are only approved to manufacture, not compound. So we had to license TD-DMPS to a compounding pharmacy. Then the FDA created issues for the owner of the pharmacy.

(Editor’s Note: We were approved to manufacture products, in mass quantity by the FDA, however nothing with DMPS is manufactured, so it has to be made through a compounding pharmacy. Products are made by a compounding pharmacy, when prescribed by a doctor for a particular patient, in small or as-needed quantities.)

But instead of the issues being around the raw product, many of the organizations clouded the issue by saying that the TD-DMPS we formulated was no good and too expensive…and suddenly, over 500 other pharmacies were trying to make it. The following are the exact words of Dr. Ken Stoller, a leading pediatrician who knows the truth and treats kids with autism, from an email he sent me 2 days ago…

Any news on your DMPS… Other transdermal DMPS is a joke.

KP Stoller, MD
President, International Hyperbaric Medical Assoc
Medical Director, Hyperbaric Medical Center of New Mexico

The real TD-DMPS will be available from a number of compounding pharmacies. We will have it posted on the blog as to which pharmacies have the real formulation that is patent pending. Those who have used the real TD-DMPS vs other versions, know the difference. Does it work in everyone? Yes, but it may take years to see a change in a brain that is injured and we have seen a few children who did not respond until after the 3rd year on treatment.

More than 3 years! It is a testament to the parents of these children who have been that committed to getting their children better. It is an honor and a privilege to treat the children of such parents, dedicated and focused towards the improvement of their children. And it is this focus and determination that allows these parents to reap the fruit of having their child return to where they were meant to be, happy, healthy and functioning at a far higher level than their neurotypic counterparts.

Please remember that my definition of Autism is nothing more than heavy metal toxicity on board a physiology with the impaired ability to detoxify certain toxic substances such as heavy metals.  To better understand Autism and Heavy Metal Toxicity, I recommend watching the DVD, Autism, The Misdiagnosis Of Our Future Generations available from TheMedicalSeries.com or from Amazon.com.