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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Mar;67(3):230-8. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.219. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Aluminium in parenteral nutrition: a systematic review.

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Pharmacy department, Hospital Universitario de Getafe, Getafe, Madrid, Spain.


Aluminium (Al) toxicity problem in parenteral nutrition solutions (PNS) is decades old and is still unresolved. The aim of this review is to gather updated information about this matter, regarding legislation, manifestations, diagnostics and treatment, patient population at risk and the actions to be taken to limit its accumulation. A structured search using MeSH vocabulary and Title/Abstract searches was conducted in PubMed ( up to November 2012. Al is ubiquitous, facilitating its potential for exposure. Nevertheless, humans have several mechanisms to prevent significant absorption and to aid its elimination; therefore, the vast majority of the population is not at risk for Al toxicity. However, when protective gastrointestinal mechanisms are bypassed (for example, parenteral fluids), renal function is impaired (for example, adult patients with renal compromise and neonates) or exposure is high (for example, long-term PNS), Al is prone to accumulate in the body, including manifestations such as impaired neurological development, Alzheimer's disease, metabolic bone disease, dyslipemia and even genotoxic activity. A high Al content in PNS is largely the result of three parenteral nutrient additives: calcium gluconate, inorganic phosphates and cysteine hydrochloride. Despite the legislative efforts, some factors make difficult to comply with the rule and, therefore, to limit the Al toxicity. Unfortunately, manufacturers have not universally changed their processes to obtain a lower Al content of parenteral drug products (PDP). In addition, the imprecise information provided by PDP labels and the high lot-to-lot variation make the prediction of Al content rather inaccurate.

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