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Penicillamine Reviews

Drug Class and Mechanism


The drug penicillamine comes under the brand names, Cuprimine and Depen. It is called an anti-rheumatic drug as it is used to cure patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. It also is used in the treatment of Wilson’s disease a genetic disease that causes large amounts of copper to accumulate in the body. Penicillamine in this case, causes this copper to bind actively and is then excreted in urine. In case of rheumatoid arthritis, it slows down the deformation of joints and also improves their function.

Prescription, Storage and Dosage


This drug comes in the capsule and the tablet form. They are 125 to 250 mg and 250 mg respectively. It is used to cure what is called active rheumatoid, a condition that hasn’t responded to other drugs. It is also prescribed for treating Wilson’s disease as it helps in excretion of copper from the patient’s body. Apart from these two conditions it is also used to prevent kidney stones and to treat lead poisoning. Penicillamine which is a prescription drug should be store at room temperature of 15 to 300 C. The dosage of penicillamine for adults in 125-750 mg daily. Some need 1 g daily to be divided into 4 doses. It should be taken on an empty stomach an hour before food or 2 hours after food.

Drug Interactions


Those patients who are on antimalarial, gold sodium thiomalate, auranofin, aurothioglucose, methotrexate should not take penicillamine. The reason is that these drugs when taken in combination with penicillamine reduce the function of the bone marrow and the kidneys. Iron, magnesium and aluminum salts that are found in antacids reduce the absorption of penicillamine. Therefore penicillamine should be taken before or after a gap of two hours from the iron containing drugs and antacids. It should not be taken by pregnant women unless absolutely necessary, as it is known to harm the fetus. Even nursing mothers should abstain from its use.

Penicillamine Side Effects


The most common side effects that are seen are weight loss, pain in abdomen, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and rashes and loss of the sense of taste. In some cases, itching and swelling of lips is also seen. It can also lead to a drop in the level of platelets, white blood cells and kidney diseases. Patients on a dosage of penicillamine are thereby asked to conduct regular blood and urine tests to monitor possible side effects. It also increases the requirement of Vitamin B6 and taking supplements for the same is recommended. This drug has a very unusual tendency of inducing immune-related diseases like polymyositis and Good pasture’s syndrome. Thereby it is necessary to make your doctor aware of any other drugs you are on to avoid harsh reactions.

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