With hereditary angioedema (HAE), you have to take charge of your own life. Learn to recognize the symptoms of your HAE attacks. Monitor your symptoms and work with your doctor to choose the best treatment plan for you. It is important for you to know the following information about the disease treatment.

Since 2010 there has been replacement therapy in Canada for acute attacks of HAE. Berinert is the only C1 esterase inhibitor available in Canada since that time.

  • Berinert® (C1 esterase inhibitor, human) and Icatiban (Firazyr) are indicated for the treatment of acute abdominal or facial attacks of moderate to severe hereditary angioedema (HAE).

C1-INH (complement 1 esterase inhibitor) therapy works by replacing missing or failing C1-INH proteins in patients with C1-INH deficiency. The C1-INH used during acute attacks is administered when a crisis occurs and optimally, at the first warning signs.

Prior to the introduction of C1-INH on the market, solvent / detergent treated plasma (DSP) and fresh frozen plasma (FCP) were used to relieve individuals with acute attacks of HAE. Other therapeutic options include epinephrine, which provides only temporary relief.

Pain medications may be helpful during an acute attack. Ask your doctor about their use.

Depending on the symptoms and where angioedema occurs in the body, it is possible that intensive medical support is needed, including the administration of intravenous fluids. This is often the case during a laryngeal edema (swelling) attack, which must be controlled to protect the airways and the patient’s life. C1-INH can be administered for this type of crisis. But if the throat swells rapidly, it is possible that a tracheostomy needs to be performed to allow oxygen to enter the lungs.

The following symptoms may be the first indication that a potentially life threatening crisis is preparing :

  • Hoarse voice or laryngitis
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling of tightness in the throat
  • Voice modification