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Doctor insights on: What Common Drugs Are Not Safe With Porphyria

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Dr. Aletha Tippett
88 doctors shared insights

Porphyria (Definition)

The porphyrias are metabolic disorders caused by abnormalities in the synthesis of heme, the portion of hemoglobin which carries the iron inside red blood cells. The manifestations of porphyria vary considerably depending on the mutation involved, ranging from light sensitivity to liver failure to nerve damage to bouts of terrible pain. Special testing is required to ...Read more


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How does one get porphyria?

Inherited: Typically inherited problem in the breakdown of red blood cells, in particular heme. The abdominal pain and crises can be set off by medications, alcohol, or low calorie diets. Medications that cause include but are not limited to barbiturates, anticonvulsants, estrogens, oral contraceptives, or even supplements (chromium for example). ...Read more

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Is porphyria progressive or lethal?

It can be: There are many forms of porphyria, some of which are rather mild and inconsequential, others of which are progressive and possibly lethal. If you suspect that you have porphyria, then you need to see your doc right away for diagnosis and treatment. ...Read more

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Can men have acute porphyria?

Can men have acute porphyria?

Yes: Both men and women can have acute porphyria. However, attacks are more common in women because of hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. ...Read more

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What precipitates a porphyria attack?

What precipitates a porphyria attack?

Depends on the type: There are 8 different kinds of porphyria. Depending on the type of porphyria, an attack can be precipitated by sunlight exposure, alcohol, inadequate diet, carbohydrate restriction, certain drugs or chemicals, hormonal changes & stress. Often a combination of triggers can precipate an attack. For more info, see the porphyria foundation's website: http://www.Porphyriafoundation.Com/about-porphyria. ...Read more

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What is a workup for porphyria? I highly suspect I suffer from it.

What is a workup for porphyria? I highly suspect I suffer from it.

Fairly rare disorder: Would start with a 24 hr urine collection for porphyrins, and if convincingly positive could do additional studies. However, low level elevations may be seen associated with dietary intake. A hematologist could aid in your assessment. ...Read more

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Can porphyria improve with age?

With treatment: Since most forms of porphyria are inherited there is not a cure for them. Depending on the type, treatment can relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Acquired porphyria can improve with removal of the triggering causes. ...Read more

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Will porphyria affect my thinking and memory? 

Will porphyria affect my thinking and memory? 

Possibly: Porphyria symptoms can include depression, confusion, hallucinations & delusions. These symptoms are most likely to occur during an acute attack. Other symptoms that one may experience during an attack could also affect thinking & memory. For examply, nausea & pain may decrease one's ability to concentrate, thereby affecting memory & attention span. ...Read more

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Porphyria, what is the difference between epp, cep and pct?

Porphyria, what is the difference between epp, cep and pct?

Porphyria types: The difference between porphyria types is the deficiency of different enzymes involved in heme biosynthesis. ...Read more

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Is porphyria research being conducted?  how can I volunteer to participate in research? 

Porphyria research: Information about ongoing research can be found at the american porphyria foundation website. Www. Porphyriafoundation.Com. ...Read more

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