The Annals of pharmacotherapy

Cimetidine in the treatment of acute intermittent porphyria.

PMID 9066947


Treatment options for AIP remain limited. Although no single therapy has been proven superior in clinical trials, intravenous hemin appears to be more effective than increased carbohydrate intake, and remains the treatment of choice. At usual dosages the average wholesale price of hemin is $120-475 per day (for a patient weighing 70 kg), compared with $2.50 per day for cimetidine. Cimetidine may offer a more cost-effective and easily administered alternative to hemin therapy. The optimal dosage and duration of treatment with cimetidine have not been established and are likely to be patient-specific. Oral doses of 800 mg/d have been used. In addition to its potential for treatment, cimetidine may also have a role in prophylaxis of acute episodes by maintaining a baseline suppression of ALA synthase activity. Until well-designed, controlled clinical trials demonstrate its efficacy and compare it with other treatment options, cimetidine should be reserved for use only after standard treatment modalities have failed.