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Lancet. 1982 Mar 20;1(8273):643-7.

Treatment of Wilson's disease with trientine (triethylene tetramine) dihydrochloride.


Twenty patients with Wilson's disease in whom severe penicillamine intolerance developed have been managed with the orally active chelating agent trientine dihydrochloride (trien). The stage of illness of the patients ranged from the presymptomatic through severe neurological or hepatic disease to the "decoppered" postsymptomatic cases. Trien has proved to be a safe and highly effective treatment both for reversing symptoms and for maintaining patients previously successfully decoppered with penicillamine. There has been evidence of depletion of the body stores of copper by trien coinciding with the clinical improvement. In most of the patients the toxic symptoms which forced a change of therapy were reversed on trien therapy; however, elastosis perforans did not seem to benefit, and two patients with penicillamine-induced systemic lupus erythematosus were not helped by the change. No other toxic signs or symptoms were observed. There was no evidence of teratogenicity either in animals or in the six patients who became pregnant while taking trien; all six infants have developed normally. Trien is a satisfactory alternative therapy for Wilson's disease; its usefulness, is however, severely limited by the lack of a product license.

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