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October 1982

Effective Treatment of Wilson's Disease With Oral Zinc

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology State University Hospital Utrecht, 3500 CG The Netherlands

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(10):672. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510220070022

To the Editor.—  With reference to the article by Longe et al on Wilson's disease in a Nigerian (Archives 1982;39:129-130), I would like to comment on their statement that penicillamine is not available in Benin City, Nigeria.For three years we have been treating Wilson's disease with oral zinc as a low-toxic alternative to penicillamine.1,2 Zinc has the property of blocking the copper absorption at the level of the gut.3 We found that during prolonged administration of zinc sulfate (ZnSO47H2O), at a dosage of 200 mg three times a day, 30 minutes before meals, the copper balance became negative. Clinical and biochemical results showed that this form of treatment was effective.In our experience, penicillamine is a potentially toxic drug and may induce side effects like urticaria and lupus erythematosus-like syndrome. This has not been our experience with oral zinc; it may indeed be

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