Hereditary angioedema breakthrough attack

Hereditary Angioedema Breakthrough Attack: What is it?

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a genetic, inherited condition that causes swelling, especially in the face, throat and abdomen. It can occur without warning and can affect people of any age. In some cases, a person with HAE can experience a severe attack called a breakthrough attack, which is a sudden, severe and often life-threatening attack that cannot be prevented by preventive medicines.

The primary goal of breakthrough attack treatment is to reduce the swelling and shorten the duration of the attack. Treatments options for breakthrough attack include:

  • C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) replacement therapy: This type of therapy is an injection of a concentrated form of C1-INH, which is a protein in the body that helps reduce swelling during flare-ups.
  • Androgens: Androgens are hormones that the body produces in small amounts. They can be given in pill or injection form. androgens are sometimes used to treat HAE breakthrough attacks, but they can have side effects that can affect the liver and heart.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are medications that are used to reduce inflammation. They can be used to reduce the swelling associated with HAE breakthrough attacks.
  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines are medications that can be taken to reduce inflammation. They are most commonly used to treat allergic reactions, but can also be used to treat HAE breakthrough attacks.

The choice of treatment for a breakthrough attack will depend on the individual situation, and the doctor will use the best treatment available. If, after treatment, the patient still experiences symptoms, then the doctor may prescribe additional medications to help reduce the swelling.