Frequency of the virilising effects of attenuated androgens reported by women with hereditary angioedema

BACKGROUND: Danazol, a drug extensively used in the management of hereditary angioedema due to C1 inhibitor deficiency (C1-INH-HAE), has various side effects. This study investigated the virilizing actions of this drug in 31 danazol-treated female patients with HAE-C1-INH. We compared our findings with those of healthy controls and with literature data.

METHODS: The patients were interviewed individually about the type and severity of the virilizing effects, as well as about their satisfaction with danazol therapy.

RESULTS: The average duration of danazol treatment was 10.31 years [2 to 23] and its mean daily dose was 131.7 mg [33 to 200]. The most common adverse effects were hirsutism (n=14), weight gain (n=13), and menstrual disturbances (n=8). The severity of danazol adverse effects did not differ by duration of treatment or by daily drug dose. The mean level of patient satisfaction with the treatment was high. The comparison of age-matched healthy controls and of HAE-C1-INH patients receiving danazol did not demonstrate a statistically higher incidence of any of the monitored symptoms in the danazol group.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that long-term danazol treatment – using the lowest effective dose – has only a mild virilizing effect.

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