Remarkable progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying attacks of swelling in hereditary angioedema (HAE). Treatment options in the United States for this potentially life-threatening disease had remained essentially static, however, over the past 40 years. Prophylactic therapy had relied on attenuated androgens or antifibrinolytic agents. Although demonstrably effective, these drugs have been fraught with side effects. Acute therapy has been largely relegated to supportive care. In this article we discuss emerging treatments that have evolved from the recognition that kinin generation is the fundamental abnormality leading to attacks of angioedema. We will review the newly approved replacement therapy for prophylaxis of HAE attacks with C1 inhibitor (C1INH). Potential options for the acute treatment of HAE will be discussed including purified C1INH, recombinant C1INH, an inhibitor of plasma kallikrein, and a B2-receptor antagonist. The arrival of these novel therapies promises to transform the future management of HAE. [References: 44].
Available online at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ocean/aap/2009/00000030/00000005/art00006 (small fee)