BACKGROUND: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare, potentially life-threatening autosomal dominant disease characterized by recurrent angioedema attacks that affect the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and airway, including the larynx. Pharmacologic developments in HAE treatment have culminated in the recent introduction of 4 new HAE-specific therapies in the United States.
OBJECTIVES: In light of these new therapeutic options, this commentary outlines historical US HAE therapy choices, discusses the potential effect of the 4 recently approved HAE treatments, and considers strategies for optimizing their use in line with international treatment recommendations.
DISCUSSION: Treatment options for HAE in the United States have been limited to attenuated androgens and antifibrinolytic agents for long-term prophylaxis and FFP and supportive therapy for the management of acute attacks. The 4 new therapies that have recently become available (ie, 2 plasma-derived C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) concentrates, the kallikrein inhibitor ecallantide, and the bradykinin beta(2)-antagonist icatibant) have provided an opportunity to change routine HAE treatment. In 2009, despite the availability of 2 of the new treatments (ie, the plasma-derived C1-INH concentrates), a large survey of US physicians suggested that wide variability still existed in the treatment of patients with HAE. Since this survey was undertaken, clinical experience with all 4 new treatments has increased significantly, and because 3 of these agents (ie, 2 plasma-derived C1-INH concentrates and icatibant) can be self-administered by trained patients, physicians can now provide individualized care that is proven effective and more aligned with international guidance.Copyright A© 2012 Elsevier HS Journals, Inc. All rights reserved.