Triethylenetetramine (TETA and trien), also called trientine (INN), is an organic compound with the formula [CH2NHCH2CH2NH2]2. This oily liquid is colorless but, like many amines, older samples assume a yellowish color due to impurities resulting from air-oxidation. It is soluble in polar solvents. The branched isomer tris(2-aminoethyl)amine and piperazine derivatives may also be present in commercial samples of TETA.
|Preferred IUPAC name
N,N'-Bis(2-aminoethyl)ethane-1,2-diamine; TETA; Trien; Trientine (INN); Syprine (brand name)
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||146.238 g·mol−1|
|Density||982 mg mL−1|
|Melting point||−34.6 °C; −30.4 °F; 238.5 K|
|Boiling point||266.6 °C; 511.8 °F; 539.7 K|
|Vapor pressure||<1 Pa (at 20 °C)|
Refractive index (nD)
Heat capacity (C)
|376 J K−1 mol−1 (at 60 °C)|
|GHS Signal word||Danger|
|H312, H314, H317, H412|
|P273, P280, P305+351+338, P310|
|Flash point||129 °C (264 °F; 402 K)|
|Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):|
LD50 (median dose)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
|Trade names||Syprine, Cuprior, Cufence|
|CompTox Dashboard (EPA)|
The hydrochloride salt of TETA, referred to as trientine hydrochloride, is a chelating agent that is used to bind and remove copper in the body to treat Wilson's disease, particularly in those who are intolerant to penicillamine. Some recommend trientine as first-line treatment, but experience with penicillamine is more extensive.
Trientine hydrochloride (brand name Syprine) was approved for medical use in the United States in November 1985.
Trientine tetrahydrochloride (brand name Cuprior) was approved for medical use in the European Union in September 2017. It is indicated for the treatment of Wilson's disease in adults, adolescents and children five years of age or older who are intolerant to D-penicillamine therapy.
Trientine dihydrochloride (brand name Cufence) was approved for medical use in the European Union in July 2019. It is indicated for the treatment of Wilson's disease in adults, adolescents and children five years of age or older who are intolerant to D-penicillamine therapy.
The most common side effects include nausea, especially when starting treatment, skin rash, duodenitis (inflammation of the duodenum, the part of the gut leading out of the stomach), and severe colitis (inflammation in the large bowel causing pain and diarrhea).
Society and cultureEdit
In the United States, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International raised the price of its Syprine brand of TETA from $625 to $21,267 for 100 pills over five years. The New York Times said that this "egregious" price increase caused public outrage. Teva Pharmaceuticals developed a generic, which patients and doctors expected to be cheaper, but when it was introduced in February 2018, Teva's price was $18,375 for 100 pills. Aaron Kesselheim, who studies drug pricing at Harvard Medical School, said that drug companies price the product at what they think the market will bear.
TETA is prepared by heating ethylenediamine or ethanolamine/ammonia mixtures over an oxide catalyst. This process gives a variety of amines, especially ethylene amines which are separated by distillation and sublimation.
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