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07.07.2016 | Ausgabe 2/2016

Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology 2/2016

The Humanistic, Societal, and Pharmaco-economic Burden of Angioedema

Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology > Ausgabe 2/2016
Hilary Longhurst, Anette Bygum


Hereditary angioedema due to C1 inhibitor deficiency (C1-INH-HAE) is a rare disorder characterized by intermittent and unpredictable episodes of swelling which cause disfigurement, disability, pain, or, in case of laryngeal swelling, risk of death. Historical factors, including the intermittent nature of the disorder, the lack of awareness of this ultra-rare condition amongst medical personnel, lack of specialist centers, and limited treatment options have contributed to under-diagnosis and under-treatment of the condition. Incorrect treatment of attacks has been common, even when medical help is sought. This has lead to reduced health-seeking behavior and alternative coping strategies, sometimes even denial, in many families, while a minority of HAE-affected patients have become serial emergency room attenders with chronic pain and ongoing requirement for opiate-based painkillers. Both strategies have incurred not only physical but also psychological and economic consequences.
In the last 10 years, new and effective acute therapies have been made available, some of which have also provided short-term and long-term prophylaxis options, together with a better understanding of older prophylactic drugs. Improved awareness of HAE amongst the general public, family members, and physicians has reduced the long delay in diagnosis and increased the number of patients receiving effective and up-to-date therapies to improve the physical impact of the disorder.
Data on the impact of treatment on the psychological outcomes is scarce, but the limited information available suggests that access to specialist advice and treatment leads to psychological as well as physical improvement.
HAE also has profound effects on individual and family economic output, directly via absenteeism from school or work and indirectly via lost opportunities. Economic improvements associated with better treatments are offset by the high cost of new acute treatments, resulting in difficult pharmaco-economic calculations. Worldwide, cost considerations present potentially insurmountable barriers to treatment for many patients, depending on the healthcare system in the individual country.

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