Reviewed on 9/23/2021

What Is Copper and How Does It Work?

Copper is an essential trace mineral present in all body tissues. It is available by prescription and over-the-counter (OTC). Copper works with iron to help the body form red blood cells. It also helps to keep the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy. Copper also aids in iron absorption.

Copper exists naturally in oysters and other shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, and organ meats such as kidneys and liver, are good sources of copper. Dark leafy greens, dried fruits such as prunes, cocoa, black pepper, and yeast are also sources of copper in the diet.

Dosages of Copper

Adult and Pediatric Dosages


  • 5 mg


  • 5 mg

Intravenous Solution

  • 0.4 mg/ml (10 ml)

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

Adult dosages:

Dietary supplement:

  • 2-5 mg orally each day, not to exceed 8 mg per day
  • Alternatively, parental nutrition: 0.3-0.5 mg per day intravenously or 0.5-1.5 mg per day intravenously (per manufacturer)

High Output Fistula (intestinal failure)

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

  • Males: 900 mcg/day
  • Females: 900 mcg/day
  • Pregnant: 1,000 mcg/day
  • Nursing: 1,300 mcg/day
  • Upper limit (UL) (over 19 years old): 10,000 mcg/day

Pediatric dosages:

  • Parental nutrition: 20 mcg copper/kg per day intravenously

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)

  • Infants 0-6 months old: 200 mcg/day
  • Infants 7-12 months old: 220 mcg/day
  • Children 1-3 years old: 340 mcg/day
  • Children 3-8 years old: 440 mcg/day
  • Children 8-13 years old: 700 mcg/day
  • Children 13-18 years old: 890 mcg/day


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What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Copper?

Side effects of copper include:

  • nausea/vomiting (10-60 mg dose)
  • liver dysfunction including necrosis

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

What Other Drugs Interact with Copper?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first.

  • Copper has no known severe interactions with other drugs.
  • Copper has no known serious interactions with other drugs.
  • Moderate Interactions of copper include:
    • pencillamine
  • Mild Interactions of copper include:

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns or for more information about this medicine.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Copper?


  • May cause nausea and vomiting with doses 10-60 mg
  • May cause liver dysfunction including necrosis
  • This medication contains copper
  • Do not take it if you are allergic to copper or any ingredients contained in this drug
  • Keep out of reach of children
  • In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately


Effects of Drug Abuse

  • No information available

Short-Term Effects

  • May cause nausea and vomiting with doses 10-60 mg
  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Copper?"

Long-Term Effects

  • May cause liver dysfunction including death of cells in the liver or tissue
  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Copper?"


  • Administration is not recommended in patients with Wilson disease
  • Use with caution in patients with liver impairments
  • Injection contains aluminum, use with caution in patients with kidney impairment and premature infants
  • Acid pH of the solution may also cause tissue irritation

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Use of copper during pregnancy with caution if benefits outweigh risks. Animal studies show risk and human studies are not available, or neither animal nor human studies were done
  • Excretion of copper in breast milk is unknown, use with caution if breastfeeding


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