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      Challenges in diagnosis and management of acute hepatic porphyrias: from an uncommon pediatric onset to innovative treatments and perspectives

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          Abstract

          Acute hepatic porphyrias (AHPs) are a family of four rare genetic diseases resulting from a deficiency in one of the enzymes involved in heme biosynthesis. AHP patients can experience potentially life-threatening acute attacks, characterized by severe abdominal pain, along with other signs and symptoms including nausea, mental confusion, hyponatraemia, hypertension, tachycardia and muscle weakness. Some patients also experience chronic manifestations and long-term complications, such as chronic pain syndrome, neuropathy and porphyria-associated kidney disease. Most symptomatic patients have only a few attacks in their lifetime; nevertheless, some experience frequent attacks that result in ongoing symptoms and a significant negative impact on their quality of life (QoL). Initial diagnosis of AHP can be made with a test for urinary porphobilinogen, \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\delta$$\end{document} -aminolaevulinic acid and porphyrins using a single random (spot) sample. However, diagnosis is frequently missed or delayed, often for years, because the clinical symptoms of AHP are non-specific and mimic other more common disorders. Delayed diagnosis is of concern as some commonly used medications can trigger or exacerbate acute attacks, and untreated attacks can become severe, potentially leading to permanent neurological damage or fatality. Other attack triggers include hormonal fluctuations in women, stress, alcohol and low-calorie diets, which should be avoided in patients where possible. For the management of attacks, intravenous hemin is approved, whereas new therapeutic approaches are currently being investigated as a baseline therapy for prevention of attacks and improvement of QoL. Among these, a novel siRNA-based agent, givosiran, has shown very promising results in a recently concluded Phase III trial and has been approved for the management of AHPs. Here, we propose a challenging case study-with a very unusual pediatric onset of variegate porphyria-as a starting point to summarize the main clinical aspects (namely, clinical manifestations, diagnostic challenges, and therapeutic management) of AHPs, with a focus on the latest therapeutic innovations.

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          Most cited references53

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          Phase 3 Trial of RNAi Therapeutic Givosiran for Acute Intermittent Porphyria

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            Recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of the acute porphyrias.

            The acute porphyrias, 4 inherited disorders of heme biosynthesis, cause life-threatening attacks of neurovisceral symptoms that mimic many other acute medical and psychiatric conditions. Lack of clinical recognition often delays effective treatment, and inappropriate diagnostic tests may lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. We review the clinical manifestations, pathophysiology, and genetics of the acute porphyrias and provide recommendations for diagnosis and treatment on the basis of reviews of the literature and clinical experience. An acute porphyria should be considered in many patients with unexplained abdominal pain or other characteristic symptoms. The diagnosis can be rapidly confirmed by demonstration of a markedly increased urinary porphobilinogen level by using a single-void urine specimen. This specimen should also be saved for quantitative measurement of porphobilinogen, 5-aminolevulinic acid, and total porphyrin levels. Intravenous hemin therapy, started as soon as possible, is the most effective treatment. Intravenous glucose alone is appropriate only for mild attacks (mild pain, no paresis or hyponatremia) or until hemin is available. Precipitating factors should be eliminated, and appropriate supportive and symptomatic therapy should be initiated. Prompt diagnosis and treatment greatly improve prognosis and may prevent development of severe or chronic neuropathic symptoms. We recommend identification of at-risk relatives through enzymatic or gene studies.
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              Givosiran: First Approval

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                paoloven@unimore.it
                Journal
                Orphanet J Rare Dis
                Orphanet J Rare Dis
                Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
                BioMed Central (London )
                1750-1172
                7 April 2022
                7 April 2022
                2022
                : 17
                : 160
                Affiliations
                GRID grid.7548.e, ISNI 0000000121697570, Department of Surgical and Medical Sciences for Children and Adults, Internal Medicine Unit, , University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, ; Via del Pozzo 71, 41124 Modena, Italy
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1893-1914
                Article
                2314
                10.1186/s13023-022-02314-9
                8991793
                35392955
                0f8b2a83-8733-4b63-9d5a-b14f26462058
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                History
                : 18 January 2022
                : 28 March 2022
                Funding
                Funded by: Polistudium SRL - Via Anfossi 36, 20135 Milano, Italy - P.IVA IT10279960966
                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                acute hepatic porphyria,porphyrias,givosiran,sirna,neuropathy,hereditary diseases,abdominal pain,delayed diagnosis,porphobilinogen,aminolaevulinic acid

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