Oral intake of zinc salts can be a cheap but effective therapy for certain patients with Wilson's disease.


Mechanism: induction of metallothionein production, which binds copper within enterocytes and hepatocytes


Patients who may benefit from oral zinc therapy:

(1) an asymptomatic or presymptomatic patient with Wilson's disease

(2) a patient who is clinically stable after completing chelation therapy

(3) a patient who cannot take penicillamine or an alternative chelator


Dose: 50 mg of elemental zinc (sans salt) taken three times a day before meals (food interferes with absorption).


Molecular weight of zinc: 65.39 g

Zinc Salt

Molecular Weight

Amount to Provide 50 mg of Elemental Zinc

zinc acetate


140 mg

zinc sulphate


123 mg


Blood and urine zinc levels can be used to monitor compliance with the regimen.



(1) concurrent chelation therapy


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