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QJM. 1995 Sep;88(9):609-16.

Long-term treatment of Wilson's disease with triethylene tetramine dihydrochloride (trientine).

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Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


Long-term treatment with triethylene tetramine dihydrochloride, (trientine, TETA) was evaluated in 19 patients with Wilson's disease (WD). Two were given the drug as first choice and 17 after treatment with penicillamine. The change was made because of side-effects, lack of improvement or worsening of neurological symptoms. All penicillamine-induced side-effects reverted. Thirteen patients still receive trientine, and the mean total observation time on this treatment is 8.5 years/patient. Seven of the 13 are free from symptoms related to WD, five have mild to moderate neurological symptoms, mainly dysarthria. One patient with neurological symptoms who received trientine from the start of treatment deteriorated rapidly and is now severely dystonic. The symptoms initially worsened and later improved in one patient. All other patients improved during trientine treatment. Three patients died: two from a multifocal cancer including the liver and one non-complier from a ruptured spleen. Two patients underwent liver transplantation for progressive liver failure: one non-complier and one with liver cirrhosis whose liver function deteriorated despite treatment; both are now free from symptoms. Unexpectedly, two patients developed a serious colitis, one with duodenitis as well, that improved after withdrawal of the drug. No other unfavourable effects of trientine were recorded.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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