Article Text


Acute intermittent porphyria treated by testosterone implant.
  1. M. W. Savage,
  2. P. Reed,
  3. S. L. Orrman-Rossiter,
  4. C. Weinkove,
  5. D. C. Anderson
  1. University of Manchester, Department of Medicine and Endocrinology, Hope Hospital, Salford, UK.


    The hereditary disorder acute intermittent porphyria is potentially fatal. Many more females present with active disease than males and some have attacks related to their menstrual cycle and pregnancy. We present a female patient who was diagnosed while pregnant at 19 years. She subsequently developed life-threatening attacks pre-menstrually at 24 years; these were associated with weight loss. Initial treatment was with high calorie feeding via a naso-gastric tube, followed by a gastrostomy. Subsequent gonadotrophin suppression with intranasal luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogue (buserelin) thrice daily met with limited success. We implanted 100 mg of testosterone subcutaneously in November 1989. The buserelin was discontinued in January 1990 and menses returned 3 months later. There have been no serious attacks since then. Repeat implantation was performed at 6 monthly intervals until her present pregnancy. Baseline biochemical parameters have remained high and unaltered despite treatment although the testosterone has clearly had a marked clinical benefit, without side effects.

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