Ecallantide for the treatment of hereditary angiodema in adults

Michael Lunn, Erin Banta
Clinical Medicine Insights. Cardiology 2011, 5: 49-54
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a clinical disorder characterized by a deficiency of C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH). HAE has traditionally been divided into two subtypes. Unique among the inherited deficiencies of the complement system, HAE Types I and II are inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder. The generation of an HAE attack is caused by the depletion and/or consumption of C1-inhibitor manifested as subcutaneous or submucosal edema of the upper airway, face, extremities, or gastrointestinal tract mediated by bradykinin. Attacks can be severe and potentially life-threatening, particularly with laryngeal involvement and treatment of acute attacks in the United States has been severely limited. In December 2009 the FDA approved ecallantide for the treatment of acute HAE attacks. Ecallantide is a small recombinant protein acting as a potent, specific and reversible inhibitor of plasma kallikrein which binds to plasma kallikrein blocking its binding site, directly inhibiting the conversion of high molecular weight kininogen to bradykinin. Administered subcutaneously, ecallantide was demonstrated in two clinical trials, EDEMA3 and EDEMA4, to decrease the length and severity of acute HAE attacks. Although there is a small risk for anaphylaxis, which limits home administration, ecallantide is a novel, safe, effective and alternative treatment for acute HAE attacks.

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