Long-term treatment of hereditary angioedema with attenuated androgens: A survey of a 13-year experience

Marco Cicardi, Luigi Bergamaschini, Massimo Cugno, Erik Hack, Giovanni Agostoni, Angelo Agostoni

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Fifty-six patients affected with hereditary angioedema have been followed during long-term prophylaxis with attenuated androgens. The treatment was started in patients who had one or more severe attacks per month. In 24 patients, the therapy lasted for more than 5 years. The minimal effective dose usually did not exceed 2 mg/day of stanozolol or 200 mg/day of danazol. Only in two patients were these doses not sufficient to achieve the complete disappearance of symptoms. Irregular menstruation, but rarely amenorrhea, was the only significant side effect. One patient had to stop the therapy because of laboratory signs of hepatic cell necrosis. In one patient, danazol was administered during the last 8 weeks of pregnancy without side effects for the mother but with transient signs of virilization for the female baby. To find a biochemical marker for the minimal effective dose of androgen derivatives, we measured the plasma levels of C1 C1 INH complexes at different doses of stanozolol in four patients with hereditary angioedema. We found that these complexes, elevated before treatment, promptly reverted to normal values during androgen therapy and remained normal with any reduction of the dose of the drug as long as the patient remained symptom free. Therefore, the measurement of C1 C1 INH complexes appears to reflect the activity of the disease and not the amount of androgen that is administered. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 1991;87:768-73.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-773
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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