DiagnosingAIP.com provides information concerning the diagnosis of Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP). The content on this website is intended for U.S. doctors and healthcare professionals only.

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Patient presentation:
Signs and symptoms

Should you consider AIP in the differential diagnosis?1

The most common symptom of an acute attack associated with AIP is severe abdominal pain. However, 5-10% of patients may not experience the most common signs and symptoms of the disorder. Patients with Acute Intermittent Porphyria can also present with some or all of the following:

Patient Scenarios

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Clinical presentation acute intermittent porphyria diagnosis chart
  • Vomiting
  • Tachycardia
  • Constipation
  • Pain in the extremities, back, chest, neck, or head
  • Paresis
  • Mental symptoms
  • Systemic arterial hypertension
  • Convulsions
  • Respiratory paralysis
  • Diarrhea

Index of suspicion1

Consider Acute Intermittent Porphyria in patients with unexplained recurring abdominal pain and other signs and symptoms of the disorder, particularly neuropsychiatric features. A number of precipitating factors are also believed to cause or exacerbate attacks, including some that are unknown. These may include:

  • Various prescription medications
  • Illicit drugs
  • Alcohol use
  • Crash dieting
  • Endogenous hormones
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Real Patients, Real Stories: Amy

Watch this video to learn how Amy educated herself and worked with her doctors to arrive at a diagnosis of AIP. Hearing about other peoples' experiences with the disease can help patients relate and better understand the disorder, so be sure to share this video with your patients, as well.

  1. Anderson KE, Bloomer JR, Bonkovsky HL, et al. Recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of the acute porphyrias. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:439-450.