Recent developments in the treatment of acute abdominal and facial attacks of hereditary angioedema: focus on human C1 esterase inhibitor

Lourdes Pastó Cardona, Ramon Lleonart Bellfill, Joaquim Marcoval Caus
Application of Clinical Genetics 2010, 3: 133-46
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a potentially fatal genetic disorder typified by a deficiency (type I) or dysfunction (type II) of the C1-inhibitor (C1-INH) and characterized by swelling of the extremities, face, trunk, abdominal viscera, and upper airway. Type III is normal estrogen-sensitive C1-INH HAE. Bradykinin, the main mediator of HAE, binds to endothelial B2 receptors, increasing vascular permeability and resulting in edema. HAE management includes short- and long-term prophylaxis. For treating acute episodes, C1-INH concentrate is recommended with regression of symptoms achieved in 30-90 min. Infusions of 500-1000 U have been used in Europe for years. Two plasma-derived C1-INH concentrates have been licensed recently in the United States: Berinert(®) for treating acute attacks and Cinryze(®) for prophylaxis in adolescent/adult patients. A recombinant C1-INH that is being considered for approval (conestat alfa) exhibited significant superiority versus placebo. Ecallantide (Kalbitor(®)) is a selective kallikrein inhibitor recently licensed in the United States for treating acute attacks in patients aged >16 years. It is administered in three 10-mg subcutaneous injections with the risk of anaphylactic reactions. Icatibant (Firazyr(®)) is a bradykinin B2 receptor competitor. It is administered subcutaneously as a 30-mg injection and approved in Europe but not in the United States.

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