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a colorless, liquid chelating agent used in the treatment of heavy metal poisoning; it forms a relatively stable compound with arsenic, mercury, gold, and certain other metals, thus protecting the vital enzyme systems of the cells against the effects of the metals. It is sometimes diluted with water and used to wash the stomach, with some of the solution being left in the stomach. Side effects include tachycardia, hypertension, nausea and vomiting, severe headaches, and a sense of constriction of the chest; barbiturates are usually ordered to relieve the symptoms, which should subside within an hour. Dimercaprol has a disagreeable skunklike odor and should be handled carefully to avoid spilling. Called also British antilewisite.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


A chelating agent, developed as an antidote for lewisite and other arsenical poisons. It acts by competing for the metal with the essential -SH groups in the pyruvate oxidase system of the cells and forms, with arsenic, a stable, relatively nontoxic cyclic compound, the metal having a greater affinity for it than for the -SH groups of the cell proteins; also used as an antidote for antimony, bismuth, chromium, mercury, gold, and nickel.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Other Pb-chelating agents [Ca[Na.sub.2]EDTA, citrate, penicillamine, and 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanol, also known as British AntiLewisite (BAL)] have been shown to increase GI Pb absorption, and in some cases (citrate, penicillamine, and BAL) this has resulted in an increase in body Pb burden (11).
British Antilewisite (BAL) in peanut oil (dimercaprol) eliminates lead through the urine and bile.
Despite chelation therapy with British antilewisite and calcium disodium edetate (CaNa[sub.2]-EDTA), the child developed seizures, became comatose, and died 26 hours after admission.