Treatment of Wilson's disease with zinc: XI. Interaction with other anticopper agents

J Am Coll Nutr. 1993 Feb;12(1):26-30. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1993.10718278.


Zinc (Zn) is increasingly being used as a treatment for Wilson's disease. Some physicians have been prescribing Zn in conjunction with other anticopper agents, such as penicillamine or trien, although theoretically these drugs might be antagonistic in their effects. In addition, Wilson's disease patients quite often take vitamin C in high doses in conjunction with Zn therapy, and there are indications of possible interactions among vitamin C, Zn and copper (Cu). Interactions of penicillamine, trien, and vitamin C with Zn have not been previously studied in terms of the potential effects of these agents on Zn efficacy in Wilson's disease. Here we have studied these interactions in the maintenance phase of therapy, using Cu balance and absorption of orally administered 64Cu as endpoints. We find evidence for probable interactions of both penicillamine and trien with Zn; however, the end result on Cu balance is about the same with Zn alone as it is with Zn plus one of the other agents. Thus, there appear to be no advantages to concomitant administration. We find no detectable interaction of Zn and vitamin C on Cu balance, when vitamin C is taken in daily doses of 1000 mg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Copper / administration & dosage
  • Copper / pharmacokinetics*
  • Copper Radioisotopes
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Penicillamine / pharmacology
  • Trientine / pharmacology
  • Zinc / pharmacology*
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Copper Radioisotopes
  • Copper
  • Penicillamine
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Trientine