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Adverse Events with d-penicillamine Therapy in Hepatic Wilson’s Disease: A Single-Center Retrospective Audit

A Correction to this article was published on 23 February 2022

This article has been updated


Background and Objective

There are limited data on the adverse events of d-penicillamine in Wilson's disease (WD) that can result in dose modification or treatment discontinuation. The objective of this study was to observe the adverse events related to d-penicillamine in patients with hepatic WD.


A retrospective audit of prospectively registered hepatic WD patients at a tertiary care center between December 2006 and January 2020 was carried out. Demographic variables, laboratory parameters, and details of treatment were noted. Adverse events (AEs) related to d-penicillamine treatment, the timing and management of these AEs were analysed.


The study included 112 patients with hepatic WD on d-penicillamine. d-penicillamine intolerance was seen in 28/112 (25%) over 179 person-years. Of the 28 AEs, severe AEs leading to permanent d-penicillamine discontinuation occurred in 16 (57%) [never reintroduced 12 (43%), discontinued after intolerant to rechallenge, 4 (14%)], temporary cessation followed by reintroduction to initial dose 13 (46%) and continuation with reduced dose in 3 (11%) patients. Overall, most common AEs were hematological [16, 57% (pancytopenia n = 8, bicytopenia n = 5 and hemolytic anemia n = 3)] while renal adverse events (n = 7, 25%) constituted the most common indication for permanent discontinuation. Cytopenias developed beyond 12 months of d-penicillamine initiation whereas hemolytic anemia developed within first 3 months. Following d-penicillamine discontinuation in 25 patients, it was reintroduced to initial dose in 13/25 (52%), switched to trientine due to neurological worsening in 2/25 (8%) and switched to zinc in 10/25 (40%). In patients with reintroduction, gradual dose escalation was tolerated in 9/13 (69%) with a recurrence of AEs leading to permanent discontinuation in 4/13 (31%).


D-penicillamine treatment is associated with significant AEs mainly related to blood, kidney, and skin. Temporary cessation of drug with reintroduction at a lower dose is an effective and safe option.

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The authors convey their greatest gratitude to Dr. Devesh Kumar for performing statistical analysis.

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Correspondence to Akash Shukla.

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No funding was received to conduct this study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics committee, Seth GS Medical college & KEM Hospital (EC/OA 63/2020).

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Kumar, S., Patra, B.R., Irtaza, M. et al. Adverse Events with d-penicillamine Therapy in Hepatic Wilson’s Disease: A Single-Center Retrospective Audit. Clin Drug Investig 42, 177–184 (2022).

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