Potential Aluminum Toxicity

Aside from the positive influence of aluminum pharmaceuticals in human health, excessive and unattended use of such preparations may have adverse effects in physiology. To this end, generally:

1 Excessive use of aluminum preparations influences negatively the human health.60 Specifically, among other clinical manifestations, aberrations are observed in calcium and phosphate metabolism resulting in damage of the skeletal bone system. Excessive intake of aluminum (through the food chain, drug ingestion, water supply, etc.) has been noted to accumulate in sensitive loci, resulting in pathological aberrations such as amnesia in young people. Prominent, also, is the presence of aluminum in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease,61 promoting an association of that element with the disease and its neuropathological hallmarks.

2 In a number of OTC drugs, aluminum is a major component. In fact, excessive use of aluminum-containing antacids, available as OTC medication, could contribute quantitatively to aluminum exposure of humans. Hence, a warning on potential dangers from aluminum-containing drugs serves to raise consciousness against their unsupervised use. Potential links of aluminum with neurodiseases, like idiopathic Parkinson's disease, have also been reported.62

Given the fact that aluminum has been studied as a potential inducer and/or contributor to a number of exposure-related pathologies, like embryonic and fetal toxic effects in humans and animals, osteomalacias, etc. it is quite critical that (a) the (bio)chemistry of that element in a biological environment be studied and (b) the associated speciation under conditions of ingestion and metabolic processing be investigated for potential toxicity effects. Clinical trials suggest that drug toxicity emerges through increased absorption of aluminum upon concurrent administration of aluminum-containing medication and citrate or citrate-containing beverages,63 use of antacids during pregnancies, etc. Crucial, therefore, in this respect appears to be in-depth research, addressing toxicity issues and providing answers that could formulate the conditions under which well-defined non-toxic aluminum drugs should be administered to humans. Through such research, safer formulations of aluminum-containing medication could emerge that enable biologically effective treatment of human pathologies. To date, warnings of aluminum overexposure from such medications vary. It is advisable, therefore, that patients be fully informed on the aluminum-containing drug that they use,64 consistent with their specific physiology or pathological conditions, to the point that medical administration minimizes potential risks. Patient-tailored administration of well-defined aluminum drugs appears to be the safest way of providing medical assistance to human pathologies increasingly burdening modern societies.

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