Preventing HAE Attacks

Preventive therapy

Androgens

To help prevent attacks, your doctor may prescribe medications known as androgens. Androgens are male hormones. The androgens that are most commonly prescribed for HAE include the attenuated androgens, such as danazol. "Attenuated" means that the male hormone is not as potent as the male hormone testosterone. Still, these drugs are rarely appropriate for children and can have unwanted side effects, including:

  • Appearance of male sex characteristics in women
  • Prostate cancer
  • Premature bone fusion in children, leading to stunted growth
  • Breast enlargement in men
  • Voice changes
  • Liver cancer
  • Increased chance of cardiovascular disease

At times, some of these effects are irreversible.

Antifibrinolytics

Antifibrinolytics are medications that are used less often than attenuated androgens in the treatment of HAE. These include tranexamic acid (TA) and epsilon-aminocaproic acid (EACA). Because they can have highly undesirable side effects, however, their use is generally limited to people who suffer frequent and/or severe attacks and cannot tolerate other medications.

C1-INH product with prophylaxis indication

C1-INH is available in the USA for prophylaxis. C1-INH (complement 1 esterase inhibitor) therapy works by replacing the missing or malfunctioning C1-INH protein in patients with a C1-INH deficiency. C1-INH for acute attacks is given when an attack occurs, optimally at the first sign of the attack (prodrome). If treatment of acute attacks does not provide sufficient relief, regular C1-INH infusions can be given twice weekly. Side effects from regular C1-INH therapy include sinusitis, rash, headache, and upper respiratory tract infection.

As you would with any medicine, discuss these options for preventing HAE attacks with your physician.

Getting treatment

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 Canadian Hereditary Angioedema Network of physicians. This organization maintains a list of doctors across the country who treat people living with hereditary angioedema.

Sign up now

Register to get the latest updates about AllAboutHAE.ca

Acute HAE treatment

Learn about a treatment for acute HAE attacks in adults and adolescents. Find out more.

FAQs about treating HAE

Questions about treating HAE? You’re not alone. Read the questions of other people learning how to treat HAE and see how they were answered. Find out more in Questions on Treating HAE.

Canadian Hereditary Angioedema Patient Association (HAE Canada)

Learn more about HAE Canada, a network where patients with HAE, physicians and the Canadian health care system become partners. Visit haecanada.org.