Preventing HAE Attacks
The first type of therapy for HAE is preventive therapy, also known as prophylaxis.
Prophylaxis is usually desirable when a patient has frequent attacks or treatment
of acute attacks does not provide the patient with sufficiently fast relief.
To help prevent attacks, your doctor may prescribe medications known as androgens.
Androgens are male hormones. The most commonly prescribed androgens for HAE are
the attenuated androgens danazol, stanozolol, and oxandrolone. “Attenuated” means
that the male hormone in the medicine is not as potent as the natural male hormone
in the body. Still, these drugs are rarely appropriate for children and are not always
well tolerated by women. You and your doctor should discuss the use and side effects
of these medications. 4, 8
Antifibrinolytics are medications that are used less often than attenuated androgens
in the treatment of HAE. These include tranexamic acid (TXA) and epsilon-aminocaproic
acid (EACA). Because antifibrinolytics can have highly undesirable side effects,
their use is generally limited to people who suffer frequent and/or severe attacks
and cannot tolerate other medications. 4
(complement 1 esterase inhibitor) therapy works by replacing the missing
or malfunctioning C1-INH protein in patients with a C1-INH deficiency. To help prevent
attacks from occurring, regular infusions of C-INH with an indication for prophylaxis
can be given. 6
As you would with any medicine, discuss these options for preventing HAE attacks
with your physician.
A physician who is experienced in the treatment of HAE can help you determine when
and how medications can be used to treat or prevent attacks. Talk to your doctor
to learn more.
If you have trouble locating a specialist, you may want to contact the
U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association. This organization maintains a robust
list of doctors across the country who treat people living with hereditary angioedema.