Treatment of chlordecone (Kepone) toxicity with cholestyramine. Results of a controlled clinical trial

N Engl J Med. 1978 Feb 2;298(5):243-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197802022980504.


Industrial workers exposed to the organochlorine pesticide, chlordecone (Kepone), had signs of toxicity in several organs. The extent of toxicity was proportional to the levels of this chemical in the tissues. In 22 patients, chlordecone was eliminated slowly from blood (half time of 165 +/- 27 days--mean +/- S.E.M.) and fat (half time of 125 days, with a range of 97 to 177), chiefly in the stool. Output of chlordecone in bile was 10 to 20 times greater than in stool, suggesting that chlordecone is reabsorbed in the "ntestine. Cholestyramine, an anion-exchange resin that binds chlordecone, increased its fecal excretion by seven times. In a five-month trial, cholestyramine significantly accelerated elimination of chlordecone from blood, with a half life of 80 +/- 4 days (S.E.M.) (P less than 0.005) and fat (half life of 64 days, with a range of 52 to 85) (P less than 0.05). Cholestyramine offers a practical means for detoxification of persons exposed to chlordecone and possibly to other lipophilic toxins.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bile / analysis
  • Chlordecone / metabolism
  • Chlordecone / poisoning*
  • Cholestyramine Resin / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Feces / analysis
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / poisoning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Time Factors


  • Insecticides
  • Cholestyramine Resin
  • Chlordecone