Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Chronic Porphyria Overview

Another name for Chronic Porphyria is Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.

What is porphyria cutanea tarda?
A person with porphyria has 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. A person with porphyria cutanea tarda has a type of porphyria that results in abnormalities of the skin.

What are the symptoms of porphyria cutanea tarda?
The most common symptom of porphyria cutanea tarda includes a red rash that most commonly appears on areas of skin that are exposed to the sun. The skin has increased sensitivity to injury and blisters may form on the hands, arms, or face. Additional symptoms of porphyria cutanea tarda include yellow skin and yellow eyes.

How does the doctor treat porphyria cutanea tarda?
General treatment measures for porphyria cutanea tarda include avoiding exposure to sunlight, phlebotomy, and medications.

Continue to Chronic Porphyria Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Chronic Porphyria References
  1. Elder GH. Porphyria cutanea tarda. Semin Liver Dis. 1998;18(1):67-75. [9516680]
  2. Sarkany RP. The management of porphyria cutanea tarda. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2001 May;26(3):225-32. [11422163]
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