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Acute intermittent porphyria in women: clinical expression, use and experience of exogenous sex hormones. A population-based study in northern Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
2003 (English)In: Journal of Internal Medicine, ISSN 0954-6820, E-ISSN 1365-2796, Vol. 254, no 2, 176-183 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical expression of acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) in women, their use of exogenous sex hormones, and the effects on AIP. DESIGN: A retrospective population-based study. SUBJECTS: All women aged > or =18 years (n = 190) with DNA-diagnosed AIP in northern Sweden. RESULTS: A total of 166 women (87%) participated; 91 (55%) had manifest AIP. Severe attacks were reported by 82%; 39% reported recurrent premenstrual AIP attacks and 22% reported chronic AIP symptoms. Oral hormonal contraceptives had been used by 58% of all these women and by 50 with manifest AIP (57%). Twelve women (24%) associated oral contraceptives as precipitating AIP attacks; in nine cases their first attack. One woman experienced relief from AIP symptoms. On commencing their treatment, 72% of the women with manifest AIP had not yet suffered their first attack. Twenty-two women (25%) aged > or =45 years had used hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) at menopause to remedy climacteric symptoms (the percutaneous route was most frequently used); no AIP attack was precipitated. HRT to remedy vaginal dryness was used by 26 women (28%) aged > or =45 years without triggering an AIP attack. Miscarriages were more frequent in women with manifest AIP (50%) than in the latent group (30%, P = 0.014). CONCLUSIONS: About half of the women with AIP had used oral hormonal contraceptives. As 25% of women with manifest AIP reported attacks associated with such drugs, caution must still be recommended. Menopausal HRT only rarely affected the disorder. Miscarriage was more common amongst women with manifest AIP.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 254, no 2, 176-183 p.
Keyword [en]
acute intermittent porphyria; miscarriage; sex hormone; woman
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-36812DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.2003.01172.xPubMedID: 12859699OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-36812DiVA: diva2:356414
Available from: 2010-10-12 Created: 2010-10-12 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Acute intermittent porphyria, women and sex hormones. Screening for hepatocellular carcinoma in porphyria
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Acute intermittent porphyria, women and sex hormones. Screening for hepatocellular carcinoma in porphyria
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background:

 

Porphyrias are inherited disorders with impaired heme biosynthesis. Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is the most common porphyria in Sweden. AIP attacks may be life-threatening. Female sex hormones are regarded as important precipitating factors. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a severe complication in the older AIP population.

The aim of the thesis was to describe the clinical expression of AIP in women, experience of hormonal contraception and hormonal replacement therapies (HRT) and of pregnancies. Secondly, we evaluated gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist treatment for prevention of menstrual-cycle-related AIP attacks. Thirdly, we evaluated whether an altered sex-steroid metabolism was present in AIP women compared with controls. Finally, we evaluated the benefit of screening for HCC in AIP in a 15-year follow-up study.

Methods and results:

In a retrospective population-based study in northern Sweden, 166 female AIP gene carriers ≥18 years of age participated. Manifest AIP (MAIP) was reported in 55%; 82% had severe attacks and 39% had menstrual-cycle-related attacks. Hormonal contraceptives were used by 94, and 12 reported that this precipitated AIP attacks. HRT and local vaginal treatments in menopause did not precipitate AIP attacks. Only 10% reported impairment of AIP symptoms during pregnancy.

In the retrospective follow-up study of GnRH-agonist treatment, 11 of 14 women improved during treatment. Porphyria attacks were triggered in two women after estradiol add-back and in 5 of 9 women after progesterone add-back.

In the sex-steroid metabolism study, levels of s-progesterone, estradiol, allopregnanolone and pregnanolone during the menstrual cycle in 32 AIP gene carriers were compared with 20 healthy controls. Progesterone metabolism in the AIP group differed from controls. In the AIP group levels of allopregnanolone, but not pregnanolone, were significantly lower.

In the prospective HCC screening study AIP gene carriers aged >55 years were included. On average 62 subjects participated during 15 years. HCC was diagnosed in 22 of 180 eligible AIP gene carriers in the region (male:female, 12:10, 73% MAIP). The annual incidence of HCC was 0.8%. The risk of HCC was 64-fold higher than in the general population over 50 years of age in this region, and even higher for AIP women (93-fold). Increased 3- and 5-year survival was seen in the regularly screened AIP group. Liver lab tests were not useful in HCC screening.

Conclusion:

The clinical expression of AIP in women is pronounced and menstrual-cycle-related attacks are common. Hormonal contraceptives can induce AIP attacks and caution is recommended. GnRH-agonist treatment can ameliorate menstrual-cycle-related attacks of porphyria. Dose findings for GnRH-agonists and add-back regimes, especially for progesterone, are intricate. Progesterone metabolism in the AIP group differs from that in healthy controls. HCC screening in AIP gene carriers >50 years of age enables early diagnosis and a possibility for curative treatments. Annual HCC screening with liver imaging is recommended in AIP gene carriers >50 years of age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university, 2010. 75 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1374
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-36884 (URN)978-91-7459-088-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-11-05, Sal B, By T9, 9 tr, Tandläkarhögskolan, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-10-15 Created: 2010-10-13 Last updated: 2010-10-15Bibliographically approved

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