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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-17 (EDT)

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DMPS is the common name for 2,3-dimercaptopropanol-sulfonic acid. It was developed in the Soviet Union initially, and was approved for use in Germany in the late 1970s. DMPS is not currently approved by the FDA,[1] but it is commonly used by naturopathic doctors in the chelation of heavy metals.


Article DMPS in the treatment of mercury toxicity, IHP, May 2008

DMPS is useful in chelating antimony, lead, and mercury.[1]

Comparison of Provocative Agents
Agent Half Life Collection Period
EDTA ~1 hr 6 - 24 hrs
DMPS (IV) ~1 hr 2 - 6 hrs
DMPS (oral) ~9 hrs 6 - 9 hrs
DMSA ~4 hrs 6 - 9 hrs

Prescribing considerations

  • Adjuncts
  • Studies suggest that supplementation of antioxidants along with chelating agents is more effective than the use of chelating agents on their own.[2]
  • Chelation of heavy metals often results in the loss of minerals. Co-administration of minerals while chelating is often required and advised.
  • Route of Administration
  • DMPS can be administered in oral, intramuscular, or intravenous routes.[1]


  • DMPS is regularly used in place of a similar chelating agent, British Anti-Lewisite (BAL) due to its better safety profile. Studies involving oral doses of 300mg have demonstrated DMPS to be safe. Doses as high as 3mg/kg have been investigated intravenously. This large IV dose caused a drop in blood pressure in two patients in the trial without any other adverse effects.[3]
  • DMPS is water-soluble and is excreted primarily by the kidneys.
  • Most adverse affects to DMPS are limited to allergic skin reactions, mucous membrane reaction, and elevation in body temperature.[1]
  • DMPS binds to copper and zinc. It can increase the elimination of zinc.
  • Case reports of adverse reactions to DMPS do exist. Chelation therapy with DMPS to treat lead exposure was implicated in a bullous skin reaction in a German man.[4]There is also a case report of Stevens-Johnson syndrome in a boy undergoing DMPS therapy to treat elevated mercury levels. SJS resolved gradually after stopping DMPS therapy.[5] About 5 to 10% of people are prone to skin reactions that generally subside within 3 to 5 days.


  • Several studies have demonstrated significant improvement in mercury toxicity-associated symptoms including sleeplessness, metallic taste in the mouth, anxiety, fatigue, muscle twitching, night sweats, and parasthesias.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hall AH, Shannon MW (2007) Shannon: Haddad and Winchester’s Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose 4th ed Chap 75 Other Heavy Metals Saunders.
  2. Flora SJ, Mittal M, Mehta A (2008) Heavy metal induced oxidative stress and its possible reversal by chelation therapy Indian J Med Res 128(4):501-23
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bernhoft RA (2011) Mercury Toxicity and Treatment: A Review of the Literature J Environ Public Health. [published online 2011 Dec 22 doi: 10.1155/2012/460508]
  4. Storim J, Stoevesandt J, Anders D, Kneitz H, Brocker EB, Tratumann A (2011) Dithiols as chelators. A cause of bullous skin reactions Hautaratz 62(3):215-8
  5. Van der Linde AA, Pillen S, Gerritis GP, Bouwes Bavinck JN (2008) Stevens-Johnson syndrome in a child with chronic mercury exposure and 2,3-dimercaptopropane-1 sulfate (DMPS) therapy Clin Toxicol 46(5):479-81