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01.12.2018 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2018

Long-term continuous N-carbamylglutamate treatment in frequently decompensated propionic acidemia: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2018
Albina Tummolo, Livio Melpignano, Antonella Carella, Anna Maria Di Mauro, Elvira Piccinno, Marcella Vendemiale, Federica Ortolani, Stefania Fedele, Maristella Masciopinto, Francesco Papadia



Propionic acidemia is a rare autosomal recessive inherited metabolic disorder that can inhibit the synthesis of N-acetylglutamate, the obligatory activator in urea synthesis, leading to hyperammonemia. N-carbamylglutamate ameliorates hyperammonemia in decompensated propionic acidemia. The effects of long-term continuous N-acetylglutamate administration in such patients are unknown. We report our clinical experience with continuous administration of N-acetylglutamate for 6 years in a patient with propionic acidemia frequently presenting with hyperammonemia.

Case presentation

A male Caucasian patient with frequently decompensated propionic acidemia and hyperammonemia was admitted 78 times for acute attacks during the first 9 years of his life. Continuous daily treatment with oral N-carbamylglutamate 100 mg/kg (50 mg/kg after 6 months) was initiated. During 6 years of treatment, he had a significant decrease in his mean plasma ammonia levels (75.7 μmol/L vs. 140.3 μmol/L before N-carbamylglutamate therapy, p < 0.005 [normal range 50–80 μmol/L]) and fewer acute episodes (two in 6 years).


Our results suggest a benefit of N-acetylglutamate administration outside the emergency setting. If this observation is confirmed, future studies should aim to optimize the dosage and explore effects of the dosage requirements on other drugs and on protein tolerance.

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