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Chihuahuas and Laetrile, Chelation Therapy, and Honey From Boulder, Colo

Alfred Soffer, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(8):865-866. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630080007003.
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What does the chelating drug edetate disodium (EDTA) have in common with chihuahua "therapy" for asthma? Why link the advocates of the nostrum laetrile with those who attribute unique medicinal properties to honey from Boulder, Colo? The proponents for each of these "cures" share the characteristic of possessing infinitely more enthusiasm than confirmatory scientific data. There are differences, of course. There are appalling risks associated with chelation therapy for arteriosclerosis, whereas dog dander from chihuahuas, honey from selected geographic areas, and laetrile are "worthless but harmless" substances. Nevertheless, nontoxic drugs can be deadly because their use may cause delay in instituting correct therapy. In the treatment of malignant neoplasms, any delay is critical. Sale or distribution of laetrile is prohibited by the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and it may not be used for investigational purposes in the absence of any competent evidence to justify a clinical trial. Some


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