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Management of acute and cutaneous porphyrias

Badminton, Michael Norman and Elder, George H. 2002. Management of acute and cutaneous porphyrias. International Journal of Clinical Practice 56 (4) , pp. 272-278.

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The porphyrias comprise a group of disorders of the haem biosynthesis pathway that can present with acute neurovisceral symptoms, skin lesions or both. Acute porphyrias present with severe abdominal pain, confusion and seizures which may be life-threatening. Specific treatment with haem preparations should be instituted as soon as possible following confirmation of increased excretion of porphobilinogen in the urine. Supportive treatment includes opiate analgesia, monitoring for and treating complications such as hypertension and hyponatraemia. Follow-up should include counselling on lifestyle modification involving avoidance of alcohol, smoking and known porphyrogenic drugs and diet. Identification and counselling of at risk relatives is essential. The cutaneous porphyrias result from porphyrin-induced photosensitivity and can present with either acute photosensitivity or skin fragility and blisters. All cutaneous porphyrias can be alleviated by avoidance of sunlight. Treatment of erythropoietic protoporphyria involves administering large doses of beta-carotene, which may improve tolerance to sunlight. Porphyria cutanea tarda can be effectively treated by phlebotomy or low dose chloroquine. Congenital erythropoietic porphyria is a rare, early onset, severe, photomutilating condition for which bone marrow transplantation has been shown to be successful.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RL Dermatology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1368-5031
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 02:02

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