Cuprimine (penicillamine) is a trusted arthritis treatment, particularly for rheumatoid arthritis and Wilson’s disease. Its comprehensive symptom management mechanism targets inflammation and is an effective chelating agent.

Penicillamine is a typical disease-modifying antirheumatic medication (DMARD) that treats rheumatic disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. DMARDs lower inflammation and slow joint deterioration in arthritis patients.

The drug is mainly prescribed for severe rheumatoid arthritis that does not respond to conventional treatment. Other than treating rheumatoid arthritis and Wilson’s disease, Cuprimine has other uses.

It is prescribed to lower the levels of cystine in urine, which leads to stone formation in the kidneys and bladder in people suffering from cystinuria.

How Does Cuprimine Work

Cuprimine works using two mechanisms depending on the conditions it treats.

  • Chelating Agent: When treating Wilson’s disease, cuprimine acts as a chelating agent, providing active sites for excess copper and other heavy metals to bind and reduce their levels in the body.
  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drug: To cure arthritis, this medication decreases joint inflammation, discomfort, and swelling by inhibiting the immune responses and preventing collagen cross-linkage.

Precautions and Warnings of Cuprimine 

Before taking Cuprimine, check out the precautions and warnings of the medication to prevent adverse effects.

  • Allergy: Inform your doctor about any allergic reactions you may have about the medication or its ingredients before taking this drug. Such allergies can trigger adverse reactions, including chronic or recurring hives.
  • Use of Alcohol: Avoid the consumption of alcohol while taking Cuprimine because it can affect the lining of the stomach and exacerbate side effects like dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Pregnancy: Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Cuprimine can harm the fetus, causing congenital disabilities such as congenital cutis laxa.
  • Breastfeeding: For breastfeeding women, it is not clear whether the drug can be excreted in breast milk. As such, you should avoid breastfeeding while using the medication to keep your baby safe.
  • Medical History: Inform the doctor about any other medical condition you may have, such as kidney disease or stomach ulcer. Cuprimine may increase the risk of kidney damage in individuals with a history of kidney disease.
  • Blood Disorders: The medication may potentially cause blood disorders like aplastic anemia, which can be fatal. People with any blood-related disorders should avoid taking Cuprimine.
  • Drug Fever: Patients taking Cuprimine might develop drug fever triggered by penicillamine. It usually occurs in the second – third week of taking the medication, so patients should be monitored closely.

Cuprimine Side Effects

Cuprimine can cause various side effects in patients, although not every patient can get them. Talk with your doctor if you experience these side effects.

Common Side Effects

The following are temporary side effects that disappear as the body gets accustomed to the drug.

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching or rash
  • Nausea
  • Decreased sense of taste
  • Skin changes, e.g., pimples

Severe Side Effects

Specific side effects may become severe, leading to life-threatening situations. After reviewing it, your doctor may suggest dosage adjustments or medication changes to manage these symptoms.

  • Pain when urinating
  • Muscle weakness in your face and double vision
  • Swelling in your hands, feet and legs
  • New or worsening joint pain and muscle weakness in the arms and legs
  • Low blood cells with symptoms such as fever and chill

Drug Interactions With Cuprimine 

Cuprimine can interact with certain medications, causing severe side effects. Individuals using cuprimine should tell their doctors about all the medicines they are taking to avoid possible interactions.

Drug Interaction
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugsCuprimine and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause a risk of bleeding in the lining of the stomach, which leads to ulcers.
Iron supplementsConcurrent use of these two medications may lead to the reduction of the absorption of iron supplements which decreases its effectiveness.
AcetaminophenThe concurrent use of Cuprimine with acetaminophen such as Tylenol may increase the risk of toxicity of acetaminophen by decreasing metabolism hence causing liver damage.
ZincThe interaction of zinc and Cuprimine reduces the absorption of zinc leading to zinc deficiency.
VaccinesCuprimine suppresses the immune response, so getting vaccines while using this medication may decrease the efficacy of live vaccines.
AuranophinConcurrently using Cuprimine with Auranophin increases the risk of renal failure and hematologic abnormalities.

Strengths and Dosages with Cuprimine 

In all patients receiving Cuprimine, the medication is administered in different strengths and dosages depending on the condition being treated.

                   Dosage   
Type of DiseaseMinimumMaximumNo. of times a day
Wilsons’s disease250g500-1500mgFour times a day
Cystinuria1g4gFour times a day
Rheumatoid arthritis125-250mg500-750mgOnce per day
Lead poisoning1g1.5gTwice or three times a day

For increased efficacy, Cuprimine should be administered on an empty stomach, at least an hour before or 2 hours after taking food. The medications should be taken with enough water to increase reabsorption.

If you forget to take the medicine, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is time to take your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with the next dosage.

Even if your condition is severe do not increase the dosage. Dosage adjustments should only be done under the guidance of your doctor.

Cuprimine Alternatives

Different alternative medications offer options for treating Wilson’s disease and other related conditions that are characterized by copper overload. These alternatives provide individuals and doctors with choices based on their preferences and how they can tolerate them.

Your doctor should aid you in determining the most suitable treatment approach by monitoring potential side effects and the treatment’s effectiveness.

  • Tetrathiomolybdate: It stabilizes copper which helps prevent toxic effects on your body.
  • Galzin: This medication blocks copper in the intestine encouraging stool formation.
  • Depen: Works by removing excess copper from your body and helps in the inhibition of collagen formation.
  • Other medications include trientine, zinc acetate, clovique, syprine, and D-penamine.

FAQs of Cuprimine

If you are a current customer and have further questions about Cuprimine, feel free to contact us and we will connect you with a licensed pharmacist.

Why is monitoring required during Cuprimine treatment?

When using Cuprimine to treat Wilson’s Disease, vigilant monitoring is required particularly carrying out regular blood tests to check blood cell count to prevent toxicity and cause neutropenia.

What is Cuprimine used for?

Cuprimine is used in the treatment and prevention of Wilson’s Disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

How can I store Cuprimine?

Store cuprimine at room temperature away from direct heat and sunlight and out of reach of children and pets. If expired or unused, ensure you discard it properly.

How is Cuprimine administered?

Cuprimine is taken orally on an empty stomach to help in the absorption. Take the medication with a lot of water, 1 hour before your meals or 2 hours after you have eaten.

Can I take alcohol while taking the medication?

Avoid the consumption of alcohol while taking Cuprimine because it aggravates side effects like dizziness, vomiting, and nausea.

What are the common side effects of Cuprimine?

Common side effects of the medication may include headache, vomiting, nausea, itching, and skin rashes.

What is the cost of Cuprimine in America?

The average cost of 250 mg of Cuprimine in America is $27,586 for a supply of 100 capsules. The cost may vary based on various factors, including the type of pharmacy or hospital you purchase it from and if you qualify for rebates, copay, and discounts. You can save up to 90% with MyRx Outlet.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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