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Zinc acetate capsules

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Wilson's disease


Oral formulations containing zinc acetate

Drugs List

  • WILZIN 25mg capsules
  • WILZIN 50mg capsules
  • zinc acetate 25mg capsules
  • zinc acetate 50mg capsules
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Wilson's disease


    Dosage should be adjusted according to therapeutic monitoring.


    50 mg three times daily, with a maximum dose of 50 mg five times daily.


    50 mg three times daily, with a maximum dose of 50 mg five times daily.


    Children over 16 years of age or weighing over 57 kg
    50 mg three times daily

    Children between 6 and 16 years of age and weighing under 57 kg
    25 mg three times daily

    Children between 1 and 6 years of age
    25 mg twice daily

    Children under the age of 1 year

    Additional Dosage Information

    Pregnant Women
    A dosage of 25 mg three times daily is usually effective but the dosage should be adjusted to copper levels.

    Switching Patients from Chelating Treatment
    The chelating treatment should be maintained and co-administered for 2 to 3 weeks. The administration of the chelating agent and zinc acetate should be separated by at least 1 hour.


    Zinc acetate must be taken on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before, or 2 to 3 hours after a meal. If gastric irritation occurs, the morning dose may be delayed until mid-morning. The capsules may also be taken with a little protein, such as meat.

    In patients unable to swallow capsules, the contents may be dispersed in a little water.

    Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

    The aim of the treatment is to maintain the plasma free copper below 250 microgram/l (normal 100 to 150 microgram/l) and the urinary copper excretion below 125 microgram/24 hours (normal less than 50 microgram/24 hours).

    Values of urinary zinc above 2 mg/24 hours and of plasma zinc above 1250 microgram/l generally indicate adequate compliance.


    Children under 1 year

    Precautions and Warnings

    Portal hypertension

    Treatment to be initiated and supervised by a specialist
    Some brands contain Sunset Yellow (E110) - can trigger allergic reactions
    Advise patient to have no food for 2 hours before and 1 hour after dose
    Monitor cholesterol and triglyceride levels
    Monitor full blood count regularly
    Monitor patients for copper deficiency
    Monitor serum zinc levels
    Monitor urinary copper
    Monitor urinary zinc

    Not recommended for initial treatment of symptomatic cases due to slow onset of action. A chelating agent is advised for initial management, followed by zinc acetate once the patient is stable and copper levels are below toxic thresholds. However, while awaiting zinc induced duodenal metallothionein production and effective inhibition of copper absorption, zinc acetate could be used initially in symptomatic patients in combination with a chelating agent.

    There is a risk of hepatic decompensation when switching from a chelating agent to zinc acetate in patients with portal hypertension.

    Overtreatment - risk of copper deficiency, especially in children and pregnant women. In these patient groups, urinary copper levels should be kept a little above the upper limit of normal or in the high normal range (40 to 50 microgram/24 hours).

    Urinary excretion of copper is an accurate reflection of body loading with excess copper only when patients are not on chelation therapy. The level of hepatic copper cannot be used to manage therapy since it does not differentiate between potentially toxic free copper and metallothionein bound copper.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Use with caution in pregnancy.

    Limited data of exposed pregnancies gave no indication of any harmful effects to embryo/foetus and mother from zinc. Pregnant Wilson's disease patients must continue their therapy during pregnancy. Their physician should decide which treatment, zinc or chelating agent, to use. Dose adjustments must be made in order to guarantee that the foetus does not become copper deficient, and close monitoring of the patient is essential.

    For dosage guidance during pregnancy see Additional Dosage

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    Zinc is excreted in human breast milk so zinc induced copper deficiency may occur in the breast fed infant.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at


    Zinc acetate capsules must be taken on an empty stomach - one hour before or two to three hours after meals.

    Any combined therapy with a chelating agent should be dosed at least one hour apart.

    Side Effects

    Elevated amylase levels
    Elevated serum lipase
    Gastric irritation
    Increase in alkaline phosphatase
    Sideroblastic anaemia


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: September 2014

    Reference Sources

    Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary (online) London: BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press [Accessed on 25 September 2014].

    Paediatric Formulary Committee. BNF for Children (online) London: BMJ Group, Pharmaceutical Press, and RCPCH Publications [Accessed on 25 September 2014].

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Wilzin 25mg capsules. Orphan Europe (UK) Ltd. Revised January 2014

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Wilzin 50mg capsules. Orphan Europe (UK) Ltd. Revised January 2014

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