Cesium, primarily in the form of cesium chloride, is promoted on the Internet to prevent various forms of cancer and as a self-administered cancer treatment.
While use of radioactive cesium in radiation treatment for cancer is authorized in Canada, Health Canada has not authorized any health products containing stable cesium compounds for oral or intravenous use, including cesium chloride. However, numerous Internet sites promote the oral use of cesium chloride as an alternative to chemotherapy. In addition to the risk of life-threatening heart problems, there is inadequate evidence to support claims of benefits with this type of treatment. The decision to self-administer cesium chloride as a treatment for cancer may also delay the start of authorized therapies that have been proven effective.
Health Canada is aware of three cases of serious cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) in Canadian consumers who took oral cesium chloride. These patients also experienced decreased or loss of consciousness. In some published foreign cases, arrhythmia following cesium chloride use has led to cardiac arrest, a condition that can be fatal. Some of these cases involved intravenous use of cesium.
Health Canada advises against any use of unauthorized oral or intravenous stable cesium compound. Users who experience adverse events, including irregular heart beat or decreased consciousness, should consult a health care practitioner immediately. Canadians should discuss the use of any health product for the prevention or treatment of cancer with their health care practitioner prior to starting its use.
Health Canada is taking action on unauthorized cesium-containing products sold on the Canadian market. All health products authorized for sale in Canada bear an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Drug Number (DIN-HM). This authorization indicates that the product has been assessed by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness and quality.
Consumers requiring more information about this advisory can contact Health Canada's public inquiries line at (613) 957-2991, or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.
Complaints involving products containing cesium chloride may be reported to the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-800-267-9675, or by writing to:
Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate
Address Locator: 2003C
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Consumers and health care practitioners are encouraged to report any adverse reactions associated with the use of cesium chloride or other health products to the Canada Vigilance Program, Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345