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Drugs and diet in the hereditary hepatic porphyrias


In the porphyrias porphyrin and haem biosynthesis are abnormal. The abnormal porphyrins are produced mainly in the liver or bone marrow. All are rare in this country. The hereditary hepatic porphyrias - intermittent acute porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria and the South African variety, variegate porphyria - are transmitted as autosomal dominants and cause intermittent attacks of abdominal and neuropsychiatric symptoms which may be precipitated by conventional doses of commonly used drugs. The acquired form of hepatic porphyria (porphyria cutanea tarda symptomatica) and the erythropoietic porphyrias mainly cause skin lesions which may also be aggravated by drug therapy.

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