Also Known As: Penicillamine, Cuprimine, Depen
Penicillamine is a pharmaceutical of the chelator class. It is sold under the trade names of Cuprimine and Depen. The pharmaceutical form is D-penicillamine, as L-penicillamine is toxic (it inhibits the action of pyridoxine). It is a metabolite of penicillin, although it has no antibiotic properties.
Penicillamine is used as a form of immunosuppression to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It works by reducing numbers of T-lymphocytes, inhibiting macrophage function, decreasing IL-1, decreasing rheumatoid factor, and preventing collagen from cross-linking.
It is used as a chelating agent:
- In Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder of copper metabolism, penicillamine treatment relies on its binding to accumulated copper and elimination through urine.
- In cystinuria, a hereditary disorder featuring formation of cystine stones, penicillamine binds with cysteine to yield a mixed disulfide which is more soluble than cystine.
- Penicillamine has been used to treat scleroderma
- Penicillamine is the second line treatment for arsenic poisoning, after dimercaprol