GENERIC NAME: penicillamine
BRAND NAMES: Cuprimine, Depen
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Penicillamine is an anti-rheumatic drug used to treat patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. It also is classified as a metal binding (chelating) agent used for treating Wilson's disease, a genetic disease that causes excessive copper to accumulate in the body. The mechanism of action of penicillamine in rheumatoid arthritis is unknown but it may be related to reduction of collagen formation. (Collagen is a type of tissue compound that forms as part of scar tissue that result from inflammation.) Penicillamine also may result in suppression of the immune system. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, penicillamine appears to slow the progression of the disease (specifically deformities of the joints) and improve function. For this reason it is considered a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). Penicillamine binds copper, iron, mercury, lead, and cystine which then are excreted in the urine, and this mechanism is important in treating several non-rheumatic diseases including Wilson's disease. The FDA approved penicillamine in December 1970.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes, in other countries
PREPARATIONS: Capsules: 125 and 250 mg; Tablets: 250 mg.
STORAGE: Penicillamine should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
PRESCRIBED FOR: Penicillamine is used to treat active rheumatoid arthritis that has not responded to other drugs. Penicillamine also is used to promote copper excretion from the body in patients with Wilson's disease and is useful for preventing cystine kidney stones in individuals with cystinuria. It has been used in the treatment of lead poisoning.
Quick GuideLyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.