BACKGROUND: Danazol is a drug most widely used for the prophylaxis of hereditary angioedema resulting from the deficiency of the C1-inhibitor. Potential hepatotoxic or liver tumor-inducing side effects of long-term danazol prophylaxis have been investigated during the follow-up of hereditary angioedema patients.
METHODS: Characteristic parameters of liver function (including bilirubin, GOT, GPT, gammaGT, total protein, ALP, LDH), as well as findings of viral serology screens and abdominal ultrasonography-determined during years 0 and 5 of follow-up of patient groups taking/not taking danazol-have been reviewed and analyzed comparatively.
RESULTS: From a population of 126 hereditary angioedema patients, 46 subjects taking danazol and another 46 not taking danazol fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Longitudinal follow-up did not reveal any clinically relevant difference between the liver function parameters determined in years 0 and 5 in the two groups. Abdominal ultrasound did not detect neoplastic or other potentially treatment-related alterations of the liver parenchyma. There were no discontinuations of treatment during the study.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results clearly suggest that, administered at the lowest effective dose, danazol does not induce liver injury in hereditary angioedema patients.