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All Diseases > Variegate Porphyria
Variegate Porphyria (VP)
Disease Category: Porphyrias
A rare, metabolic disorder characterized by deficiency of the enzyme protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO), which allows for build-up of porphyrins and porphyrin precursors. Porphyrins are substances that bind metals to form complexes, such as the iron found in red blood cells. Symptoms include abdominal and extremity pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, bladder dysfunction, convulsions, profound muscle weakness, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), hypertension (high blood pressure), and cutaneous photosensitivity (skin hyperreactivity to light) resulting in blistering skin lesions, hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth), and discoloration. Risk for developing chronic kidney disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) increases.
Research groups studying this disease
The porphyrias are a group of rare metabolic diseases that may present in childhood or adult life and are due to deficiencies of enzymes in the heme biosynthetic pathway. Porphyrias have various symptoms depending on the type, but these can range from neurological symptoms to sun sensitivity. See the descriptions of each type to get more information. The natural history of these disorders is not well described and it is not known why some patients are more severe than others. Therefore, the purpose of this long-term follow-up study is to collect a large group of patients with the different types of porphyria and to provide a better understanding of the natural history of these disorders. The hope is that this information will help in developing new forms of treatment. The research aims are: 1. To study the prevalence of specific indicators of disease severity. To study the effects on quality of life and health of various porphyrias. 2. To determine the relationships between disease severity and various biological characteristics, genetic information, and environmental factors.
The purpose of this study is to collect information on acute porphyria attacks that may have been caused by a medication. Individuals who have tested positive for an acute porphyria, or have been told by a doctor that they may have the disease may join this study. We are particularly interested in the following: (1) Attacks that appeared to be due to a specific medication; (2) Use of a medication that is considered risky in porphyria but caused no problems; and (3) Use of medications for which the safety profile in porphyria is unknown.
Committed to improving the quality of life of the porphyria patient community, relentlessly focused on advancing disease awareness, research, and therapies in all the porphyrias.