Generic Name: penicillamine (pen ih SILL ah meen)
Brand Name: Cuprimine, Depen
What is Depen (penicillamine)?
Penicillamine is a chelating agent. It attaches to other chemicals in the body, which aids in their removal.
Penicillamine is used to remove excess copper associated with Wilson's disease. It is also used to reduce cystine in the urine and to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Penicillamine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Depen (penicillamine)?
Notify your doctor immediately if you develop fever; chills; a sore throat; unusual bruising or bleeding; blood in your urine, unexplained shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing; muscle weakness; or double vision. These symptoms could be early signs of dangerous side effects.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Depen (penicillamine)?
You cannot take penicillamine if you have taken it in the past and it has damaged your blood cells.
Before taking penicillamine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease or any other serious illness. You may not be able to take penicillamine, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during therapy.
Penicillamine may cause birth defects in an unborn baby. However, it has also been used during pregnancy with no evidence of defects. Penicillamine should not be used during pregnancy except to treat Wilson's disease and some cases of cystine in the urine. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether penicillamine passes into breast milk. Since penicillamine may harm a nursing infant, breast-feeding is not recommended during treatment with this medication.
How should I take Depen (penicillamine)?
Take penicillamine exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
Take each dose with a full glass of water.
Penicillamine must be taken on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a full meal, and at least 1 hour before or after any other drug, food, or milk. Taking penicillamine with anything else in the stomach greatly decreases its effectiveness.
Do not stop taking penicillamine without first talking to your doctor. Stopping therapy may cause your body to react abnormally when therapy is restarted. If you do stop taking the medication, do not restart without first talking to your doctor. You may need special monitoring.
Your doctor may want you to take a vitamin and mineral supplement during treatment with penicillamine. Penicillamine may reduce vitamin B6 and iron in the body. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Store penicillamine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose on an empty stomach as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. If you have missed several doses in a row, do not take any more doses without first talking to your doctor.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention.
Symptoms of a penicillamine overdose are not known.
What should I avoid while taking Depen (penicillamine)?
Follow any special diet restrictions recommended by your doctor.
Depen (penicillamine) side effects
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; difficulty breathing; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives);
fever or chills;
a sore throat;
unusual bleeding or bruising;
blood in the urine;
unexplained shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing;
yellow skin or eyes;
muscle weakness; or
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take penicillamine and notify your doctor if you experience
itching or a rash;
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite;
ringing in the ears;
sores in the mouth;
poor wound healing; or
increased wrinkling of the skin.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Depen (penicillamine)?
Do not take penicillamine if you are taking any of the following medicines:
a gold-therapy product such as auranofin (Ridaura), aurothioglucose (Solganal), or gold sodium thiomalate (Myochrysine, Aurolate);
an antimalarial medicine such as quinine (Quinamm), mefloquine (Lariam), chloroquine (Aralen), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), primaquine, or pyrimethamine (Daraprim);
a cancer chemotherapy medicine; or
Like penicillamine, the medications listed above can affect the blood and the kidneys. Combined with penicillamine, any of these medicines can be very dangerous.
Before taking penicillamine, tell your doctor if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps). Penicillamine may decrease the effects of digoxin, and your doctor may want to adjust your dosage or monitor your therapy.
Many other drugs, especially antacids and vitamin and mineral supplements, can decrease the effects of penicillamine. Do not take any medicines or over-the-counter drugs or supplements within 1 hour of a penicillamine dose.
Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with penicillamine. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
More about Depen (penicillamine)
- Other brands: Cuprimine
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist has additional information about penicillamine written for health professionals that you may read.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.03. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.