Click on the bold blue text below, or on a topic listed on the left side of the page to read more. You can also find information about the treatment of your type of porphyria under your specific type.
The American Porphyria Foundation promotes comprehensive care necessary for treating individuals with Porphyria. Although there is no cure for porphyria, there is treatment available for each type of the disease.
In this section of our website you'll find detailed information on Panhematin® for acute porphyria (AIP, VP, HCP or ADP) and Lumitene for Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP), tips on finding a local doctor and building a good working relationship with your doctor. Treatment for each of these diseases involves more than a single medication. Please see the disease descriptions for additional information.
The medications mentioned in this section of the site are for acute porphyria and EPP only. For treatment options for Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT), Congenital Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (CEP) and Hepatoerythropoietic Porphyria (HEP) please see the disease descriptions.
Panhematin® is a treatment for the acute porphyrias manufactured by Lundbeck Inc. in Deerfield, IL. It is a lyophilized form of alkaline heme that has to be reconstituted immediately prior to administration. Panhematin® should be infused into a large peripheral vein. A large central line or port may be used, if available.
Doctors administer Panhematin® to correct heme deficiency in the liver and repress production of porphyrin precursors. Panhematin® almost always normalizes porphyrin and porphyrin precursor values. Three to four mg/kg of Panhematin® given once daily for four days early in an attack produces a highly beneficial effect in most patients. Commonly noted are decreases in pulse rate, blood pressure, abdominal pain, as well as decreased levels of urinary porphobilinogen (PBG). These effects can occur within a day.
Panhematin® is the only commercially available heme therapy in the United States. (Heme arginate is another preparation, but is only available outside of the U.S.) While a high carbohydrate diet is recommended for patients with porphyria, it is not regarded as highly effective by itself. Intravenous glucose therapy is a treatment option for mild attacks. When heme therapy was introduced as a treatment, it was recommended that it be initiated only after several days of glucose therapy was unsuccessful.
Today, physicians experienced in treating patients with attacks of porphyria recommend early use of Panhematin® rather than waiting to see if glucose alone will be of decisive help.