Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Acute Intermittent Porphyria Overview

What is acute intermittent porphyria?
A person with acute intermittent porphyria has episodes of abnormally high levels of porphyrins in the bloodstream. Porphyrins are molecules that the body uses to make hemoglobin. High levels of porphyrins are toxic to the brain, nerves, skin and gastrointestinal tract.

What are the symptoms of acute intermittent porphyria?
Common symptoms of acute intermittent porphyria include abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, muscle aches, and weakness. Other symptoms include depression, hallucinations, and delusions.

How does the doctor treat an acute intermittent porphyria?
Acute intermittent porphyria may be controlled with a special diet and avoiding alcohol and sun exposure. Acute episodes of this disease are treated with medications and oxygen therapy. Some may benefit by removal of the spleen.

Continue to Acute Intermittent Porphyria Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Acute Intermittent Porphyria References
  1. Anderson KE, Bloomer JR, Bonkovsky HL, Kushner JP, Pierach CA, Pimstone NR, Desnick RJ. Recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of the acute porphyrias. Ann Intern Med. 2005 Mar 15;142(6):439-50. [15767622]
  2. Badminton MN, Elder GH. Management of acute and cutaneous porphyrias. Int J Clin Pract. 2002 May;56(4):272-8. [12074210]
  3. Elder GH, Hift RJ. Treatment of acute porphyria. Hosp Med. 2001 Jul;62(7):422-5. [11480131]
  4. Gonzalez-Arriaza HL, Bostwick JM. Acute porphyrias: a case report and review. Am J Psychiatry. 2003 Mar;160(3):450-9. [12611823]
  5. Kauppinen R. Porphyrias. Lancet. 2005 Jan 15-21;365(9455):241-52. [15652607]
  6. Sassa S. Diagnosis and therapy of acute intermittent porphyria. Blood Rev. 1996 Mar;10(1):53-8. [8861279]
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