Background: Skin swellings are the most frequent symptoms in hereditary angio-oedema (HAE) arising out of C1-inhibitor (C1-INH) deficiency. They may be painful and impact daily activities of patients. Detailed clinical data concerning the treatment of skin swellings by C1-INH concentrate have not been reported yet.
Methods: From 1976 through 2007, a total of 2104 skin-swelling attacks in 47 patients with HAE were treated with the C1-INH concentrate. Time to relief and duration of the swellings were documented during personal interviews using standardized questionnaires. The results were compared with 9046 untreated skin swellings in the same patients.
Results: The first clinical sign of efficacy was a slowdown of progress of symptoms accompanied by a decreased feeling of tension and pain in the swollen area. The mean time to the first relief of symptoms was 1.1 ± 1.4 h in treated skin swellings and 50.4 ± 33 h in untreated skin swellings. Improvement of facial skin swellings took longer than swellings of the extremities, genitals or trunk. The duration of treated skin swellings was 1.7 day in treated and 3.2 day in untreated ones. In treated swellings, there was long-lasting control and no rebound within the 48 h following the drug administration and no laryngeal oedema following facial oedema were observed. No severe side-effects occurred.
Conclusions: The C1-INH concentrate has proven to be highly effective and safe for treating skin swellings in patients with HAE arising out of C1-INH deficiency.