Cuprimine or generic Penicillamine is prescribed to treat Wilson’s disease, a rare disorder inherited through two copies of a defective gene, one from each parent. If only one parent passes this gene onto you, then you are considered a carrier and could, potentially, pass the gene to your children. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Cuprimine is a first-line chelating agent that is taken orally to remove excess copper that hasn’t been eliminated properly, but instead has accumulated in your liver, brain, and other vital organs. Symptoms of abdominal pain, fatigue, uncontrolled movements, and speech problems usually start to show between the ages of 12 and 23.
Cuprimine is absorbed into your bloodstream where it travels along and basically grabs on to calcium, lead, mercury, copper and other metals and minerals, and delivers them to your kidneys. They are then expelled from your body through urination. Once these metals and minerals have been bound to Cuprimine or other chelating agents, they are unable to react undesirably. Cuprimine is not a cure for Wilson’s disease, but if diagnosed early, you can enjoy a fairly normal lifestyle with a few food restrictions and long-term medication needed.
Cuprimine is also beneficial for the treatment of another inherited disease called cystinuria. As with Wilson’s disease, cystinuria requires that you receive a defective gene from each parent. Cystinuria occurs when an amino acid called cysteine begins to accumulate in your kidneys instead of going back into your bloodstream. As it builds up stones are formed that can become stuck in your kidneys, bladder, and urethra. These stones are then carried out of your body when you urinate and can be very painful to pass.
Symptoms of cystinuria include blood in your urine, severe pain in your back or side, nausea, and vomiting. Taking Cuprimine and drinking lots of water will help alleviate the pain and increase urination to help pass stones before they grow too large and require surgical removal. Cuprimine may also be recommended to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis when other options have failed.
Discuss other medical conditions or allergies you have with your doctor and provide a list of current OTC or Rx drugs you are taking, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements to be certain that nothing will interfere with how Cuprimine works in your body or cause adverse reactions. Ask your doctor if Cuprimine is safe to take while pregnant, if you become pregnant, or if you are breast feeding.
Take Cuprimine on an empty stomach either one hour before or two hours after a meal and at least one hour before or after taking other medications or milk. Ask about any dietary restrictions or limitations when taking Cuprimine for Wilson’s disease to reduce the amount of copper consumed from the food you eat. Cuprimine may decrease your vitamin B6 and iron levels so your doctor will perform regular blood tests and recommend any vitamin or mineral supplements if required.