Management and prevention of hereditary angioedema attacks

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare genetic syndrome caused by a deficiency in functional C1 inhibitor that results in recurrent episodes of nonpruritic swelling of the hands, feet, arms, legs, trunk, face, genitalia, bowels, and larynx beginning in childhood or adolescence and continuing throughout the patient’s lifetime. Treatment for acute HAE attacks in the United States has been transformed by new therapies that inhibit the underlying mechanisms of angioedema- notably ecallantide, a potent and specific inhibitor of plasma kallikrein, and icatibant, a selective bradykinin receptor antagonist. These treatments, combined with safer formulations of plasma-derived C1 esterase inhibitor concentrate for HAE prophylaxis and acute treatment, have greatly improved the quality of life for people with HAE, many of whom can now lead fairly normal lives. This article reviews the current therapeutic landscape for HAE, including treatment for acute angioedema attacks, short- and long-term HAE prophylaxis, and home-based therapy.

2013 Jun;19(7 Suppl):s111-8

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