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Penicillamine Oral tablet

It is used to treat Wilson's disease and cystinuria

Generic Name: penicillamine

Brand Names: Cuprimine, Depen

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

What is this medicine?

PENICILLAMINE (pen uh SIL uh meen) binds with heavy metals and cystine in the body. It is used to treat Wilson's disease and cystinuria. It is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • anemia or other blood disorders
  • kidney disease
  • myasthenia gravis
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to penicillamine, penicillin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take this medicine on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after food. Do not take with food. Take this medicine at least one hour apart from milk or other medicines. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine even if you feel better. Skipping doses for even a few days may cause you to have allergic reactions after restarting this medicine. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • medicines for malaria

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • certain antacids that contain aluminum, magnesium
  • chemotherapy
  • gold compounds used for arthritis
  • iron tablets
  • multi-vitamins with metals, minerals or iron
  • oxyphenbutazone, phenylbutazone

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. It may take 2 to 3 months to improve your symptoms. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if you get any new symptoms. You will need to have important blood work done while on this medicine.

You may need to be on a special diet while taking this medicine. Check with your doctor. Ask if you need to take extra vitamin B6 or a multi-vitamin while taking this medicine.

If you are taking this medicine to prevent kidney stones you need to drink plenty of water. Drink at least 2 full glasses of water at bedtime and 2 more full glasses of water during the night.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your doctor or health care professional that you are taking this medicine.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • black, tarry stools
  • breathing problems
  • changes in vision
  • dark urine
  • dizzy, lightheaded
  • fever, chills, sore throat
  • joint pain
  • mouth sores
  • numbness, tingling pain
  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • swollen or painful glands
  • trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusually weak or tired

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • anxiety, irritation
  • changes in taste
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • wrinkled or loose skin


Last Updated: July 21, 2009
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