JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Management of acute attacks of hereditary angioedema: potential role of icatibant

Hilary J Longhurst
Vascular Health and Risk Management 2010, 6: 795-802
20859548
Icatibant (Firazyr(®)) is a novel subcutaneous treatment recently licensed in the European Union for acute hereditary angioedema. Hereditary angioedema, resulting from inherited partial C1 inhibitor deficiency, is a disabling condition characterized by intermittent episodes of bradykinin-mediated angioedema. Icatibant blocks bradykinin B2 receptors, attenutating the episode. Randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of icatibant, showed significant superiority over oral tranexamic acid in 74 European patients and a trend to improvement in a similar US trial comparing icatibant with placebo in 55 patients. Outcomes for several endpoints did not reach significance in the US trial, perhaps because of low participant numbers and confounding factors: a further trial is planned. Open label studies have shown benefit in multiple treatments for attacks at all sites. Approximately 10% of patients require a second dose for re-emergent symptoms, usually 10 to 27 hours after the initial treatment. Its subcutaneous route of administration, good tolerability and novel mode of action make icatibant a promising addition to the limited repertoire of treatments for hereditary angioedema.

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