Clinical report

Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23 suppl 3:59-63    pdf

Symptoms and differential diagnosis of patients fearing mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings

by Stenman S, Grans L

Clinical signs, somatic symptoms reported by patients, and mercury excretion in urine were studied for 348 patients selected by odontologists or internists as amalgam-free referents, or as subjects with unexplained clinical findings or who were self-selected due to their fear of mercury intoxication from their amalgam fillings. Sixty patients were excluded because other explanations could be given for their complaints. The age distribution was bimodal, with peaks between 30 and 35 years and between 45 and 50 years. Mercury was determined in a morning urine sample and 30 minutes after the injection of 300 mg of 2,3 dimercapto-1-propane sulfonic acid (DMPS), a mercury-chelating agent. The patients were followed for 1--3 years. Among the patients there were 26 who had had their amalgam fillings removed and who, at the time of the follow-up, were subjectively cured. When the patients were classified according to the excretion of mercury after the DMPS challenge, those who belonged to the upper quartile had an odds ratio of 7.2 (95% confidence interval 3.1--15.2) for becoming cured after amalgam removal. The symptoms of the cured patients had been predominantly mental. No consistent clinical picture could, however, be found among the other patients, as various types of mental and physical distress were reported.