Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Penicillamine

The drug penicillamine is primarily used to treat Wilson's disease (an inherited disorder affecting copper metabolism, causing cirrhosis and brain and eye problems) and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Interaction

Substance: Copper

Effect: Avoid in Cases of Wilson's Disease

When used to treat Wilson's disease, penicillamine works by removing copper from the body. Taking copper supplements while you are using penicillamine for this condition is not a good idea.

Interaction

Substance: Vitamin B6

Effect: Possible Need for Supplementation

Penicillamine might increase the need for vitamin B 6.1 Taking 25 to 50 mg of supplemental B 6 daily is often recommended.2

Interaction

Substance: Zinc

Effect: Supplementation Possibly Helpful, but Take at a Different Time of Day

Long-term use of penicillamine can cause zinc deficiency.3 However, zinc can impair penicillamine absorption, so do not take zinc supplements during the 2 hours before or after your penicillamine dose.4

Interaction

Substance: Iron

Effect: Take at a Different Time of Day

Penicillamine attaches to the mineral iron, which impairs the absorption of both substances.5,6 The solution: If you need iron supplements, do not take them during the 2 hours before or after your penicillamine dose.

 

References

1. Rumsby PC and Shepherd DM. The effect of penicillamine on vitamin B 6 function in man. Biochem Pharmacol 30: 3051–3053, 1981.

2. Pronsky Z (ed.). Powers and Moore's food medication interactions, 10th ed. Pottstown, PA: Food-Medication Interactions, 1997: 182.

3. Multicentre Trial Group. Controlled trial of D(-) penicillamine in severe rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet 1: 275–280, 1973.

4. Pronsky Z (ed.). Powers and Moore's food medication interactions, 10th ed. Pottstown, PA: Food-Medication Interactions, 1997: 182.

5. Campbell NR and Hasinoff BB. Iron supplements: a common cause of drug interactions. Br J Clin Pharmacol 31(3): 251–255, 1991.

6. Pronsky Z (ed.). Powers and Moore's food medication interactions, 10th ed. Pottstown, PA: Food-Medication Interactions, 1997: 182.

Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board  Last Updated: 12/15/2015