(HealthDay News) — For young children with presymptomatic Wilson disease, zinc monotherapy is safe and effective, according to a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Keisuke Eda, from the Kurume University School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues examined 24 children younger than 10 years with presymptomatic Wilson disease who received zinc monotherapy from the time of diagnosis.

The researchers observed a significant decrease in aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase beginning 1 month after treatment initiation, and remaining under 50 U/L from 1 to 8 years of treatment. At 6 months there was a significant decrease in 24-hour urinary copper, which usually remained under 75 µg/day and between 1 and 3 µg/kg/day for the rest of the study. Patients continued taking zinc and none of them became symptomatic. Aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase significantly decreased at 1 month after treatment initiation in patients under 6 years who received 50 mg/day of zinc as an initial dose; at 6 months there were decreases in γ-glutamyltranferase and 24-hour urinary copper.

“To our knowledge, this is the first multicenter study of zinc monotherapy for young children with presymptomatic Wilson disease,” the authors write. “Such monotherapy proved highly effective and safe.”


  1. Eda K, Mizuochi T, Iwama I, et al. Zinc monotherapy for young children with presymptomatic Wilson disease: a multicenter study in Japan. J Gastroen Hepatol. 2017. doi:10.1111/jgh.13812