Critical appraisal of androgen use in hereditary angioedema: a systematic review

OBJECTIVE: To provide an objective basis for evaluating the risk-benefit ratio of long-term androgen use in patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE).

DATA SOURCES: PubMed was searched with no time limitations using the keywords hereditary angioedema or angio-oedema combined with danazol, stanozolol, and androgen.

STUDY SELECTION: Qualifying articles were English-language reports of androgen use in patients with HAE, with relevant safety and/or efficacy information. Reports were categorized according to level of evidence (LOE).

RESULTS: The search process identified 153 citations, 63 of which contained relevant information; 2 additional publications were identified while other citations were being reviewed. Fifteen LOE 2 studies and multiple LOE 4 reports provided efficacy data, confirming a high level of prophylactic efficacy for androgen therapy in HAE, with occasional reports of poor prophylactic response. Common adverse events include weight gain, menstrual irregularities, virilization, headaches, myalgias or cramps, mood changes, and elevations in creatine phosphokinase level, liver function test results, and serum lipid level. The risk of adverse events is often correlated with dose and/or treatment duration. Rare cases of hepatic adenomas and hepatocellular carcinoma associated with long-term androgen use often had no preceding changes in liver function test results.

CONCLUSION: Androgen therapy may be effective for most patients with HAE; however, potential risks and adverse effects must be carefully considered and discussed with patients when considering options for long-term HAE prophylaxis.Copyright © 2015 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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