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J Lab Clin Med. 2001 Mar;137(3):191-8.

Treatment of Wilson's disease with zinc XVI: treatment during the pediatric years.

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University of Michigan Medical School, the departments of Human Genetics, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0618, USA.


The objectives were to evaluate appropriate doses of zinc acetate and its efficacy for the maintenance management of Wilson's disease in pediatric cases. Pediatric patients of 1 to 5 years of age were given 25 mg of zinc twice daily; patients of 6 to 15 years of age, if under 125 pounds body weight, were given 25 mg of zinc three times daily; and patients 16 years of age or older were given 50 mg of zinc three times daily. Patients were followed for efficacy (or over-treatment) until their 19th birthday by measuring levels of urine and plasma copper, urine and plasma zinc and through liver function tests and quantitative speech and neurologic scores. Patients were followed for toxicity by measures of blood counts, blood biochemistries, urinalysis, and clinical follow-up. Thirty-four patients, ranging in ages from 3.2 to 17.7 years of age, were included in the study. All doses met efficacy objectives of copper control, zinc levels, neurologic improvement, and maintenance of liver function except for episodes of poor compliance. No instance of over-treatment was encountered. Four patients exhibited mild and transient gastric disturbance from the zinc. Zinc therapy in pediatric patients appears to have a mildly adverse effect on the high-density lipoprotein/total cholesterol ratio, contrary to results of an earlier large study of primarily adults. In conclusion, zinc is effective and safe for the maintenance management of pediatric cases of Wilson's disease. Our data are strongest in children above 10 years of age. More work needs to be done in very young children, and the cholesterol observations need to be studied further.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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