By Domingo Tabangcura, Jr. and G. Patrick Daubert, MD
British anti-Lewisite (BAL; dimercaprol; 2,3-dimercaptopropanol) has been in
use in the medical community for over 60 years. It is most commonly used as a
chelator (remove a heavy metal from the body) in the treatment of poisoning
from arsenic, mercury, lead, and gold. It is also well-known for its role in
World War II (WWII) as an antidote to the chemical warfare agent Lewisite
(2-chlorovinyldichloroarsine). Although other chelators have now been developed
with less toxicity, British anti-Lewisite maintains a prominent role in the
treatment of various medical conditions.
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