Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Intermittent Porphyria Treatment

Episodes of acute intermittent porphyria may be prevented by eating a special diet, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding exposure to the sun. Sudden acute intermittent porphyria is treated in the hospital with intravenous heme therapy, which reduces the production of porphyrins. Additional treatment includes a high carbohydrate diet and medication for pain. Porphyria requires life-long treatment.

General treatment for acute intermittent porphyria includes:

  • Avoid medications that trigger porphyria.
  • Do not take iron supplements.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Avoid fasting.
  • Avoid sun exposure.
  • Eat a high carbohydrate diet.
  • Take vitamin A supplements.

Treatment for a severe attack of acute intermittent porphyria may include:

Intermittent Porphyria Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of acute intermittent porphyria.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Intermittent Porphyria Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat acute intermittent porphyria:

Continue to Intermittent Porphyria Home Care

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed 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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