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Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is an inherited deficiency in the haem biosynthesis pathway. AIP is rare, affecting around 1 in 75 000 people. Acute attacks are characterised by abdominal pain associated with autonomic, neurological and psychiatric symptoms. AIP is rarely associated with posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES). PRES is a clinicoradiological condition caused by the failure of the posterior circulation to autoregulate, resulting in cerebral oedema, headaches, nausea and seizures. This association is important because drugs used in the management of seizures may worsen an attack of AIP. This article describes a case of AIP and PRES in a young woman.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Case Rep

Publication Date





Abdominal Pain, Adult, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Porphyria, Acute Intermittent, Porphyrins, Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome, Seizures