Panhematin for Acute Porphyria

Panhematin® from Recordati Rare Diseases in Lebanon New Jersey, is a lyophilized form of alkaline heme that has to be reconstituted immediately prior to administration. Panhematin® should be infused into a large peripheral vein. A large central line or port may be used, if available.

Panhematin photo

Doctors administer Panhematin® to correct heme deficiency in the liver and repress production of porphyrin precursors. Panhematin® almost always normalizes porphyrin and porphyrin precursor values. Three to four mg/kg of Panhematin® given once daily for four days early in an attack produces a highly beneficial effect in most patients. Commonly noted are decreases in pulse rate, blood pressure, abdominal pain, as well as decreased levels of urinary porphobilinogen (PBG). These effects can occur within a day.


What's New

** Recordati Rare Diseases is launching a new 350mg dosage strength of Panhematin is launching a new 350mg dosage strength of Panhematin. This is the first significant change to Panhematin since it was approved over 30 years ago. The prescribing instructions have numerous updates including the removal of the boxed warning, addition of clinical studies section, updates to the adverse events section, and changes to dosing and administration. The distribution process for Panhematin will stay the same.

The new dosage strength is being launched to better accommodate the current weight of patients and the current dosing of Panhematin in clinical practice.

A new copay assistance program for Panhematin will be available starting in July 2017. This program can help eligible patients with their copay when they receive Panhematin on an outpatient basis. Please see the Panhematin website ( for more information.

Panhematin® Overview

Panhematin® is the only commercially available heme therapy in the United States. (Heme arginate is another preparation, but is only available outside of the U.S.) While a high carbohydrate diet is recommended for patients with Porphyria, it is not regarded as highly effective by itself. Intravenous glucose therapy is a treatment option for mild attacks. When heme therapy was introduced as a treatment, it was recommended that it be initiated only after several days of glucose therapy was unsuccessful.

Today, physicians experienced in treating patients with attacks of Porphyria recommend early use of Panhematin® rather than waiting to see if glucose alone will be of decisive help. However, not every patient who experiences an attack of Porphyria needs Panhematin® since mild attacks may well respond to glucose alone. But a specialist's advice and consultation may first be obtained. This is recommended also for prophylactic infusions of Panhematin® given to prevent attacks.

Many experts recommend reconstituting Panhematin® with albumin as this makes it more stable. This helps prevent phlebitis and an anticoagulant effect. Like Panhematin®, albumin is a biologic product, which is approved and regulated by the FDA.

In addition to Panhematin® therapy, supportive measures such as nursing care, attention to electrolyte imbalance, and sufficient pain medication help in treating acute attacks.

During treatment, attention should be given to salt and water balance. Harmful drugs should be stopped. These include barbiturates, sulfonamide antibiotics, and many others.

For medical information questions (for healthcare professionals only) regarding Panhematin®, please call 1-888-575-8344.  For safety or adverse event related questions, please call 1-888-575-8344.  If your physician would like to speak to a Porphyria expert who has expertise in using Panhematin®, the American Porphyria Foundation (APF) will gladly provide that information.  Call us at 301-347-7166.


Read Member Stories that include experiences with Panhematin®:

  • Arielle Dimino "...Getting a port was the best decision I could've made. I currently go twice a week for Panhematin treatments. Having a port has been life changing for me."
  • Carlos Johnson " was July of 2011, and I was in a hospital in Philly. There it was a doc that knew about my porphyria (thank God), and he decided to give me the Panhematin.  I swear by the second day of having the infusion, I began to feel a whole lot better, better than I had felt in years."
  • Tony McLaughlin?  "Since 1993, I was relatively stable apart from fragile skin in the summer, that was until 2010 when I had a severe attack exacerbated by dithering doctors who didn't believe all my symptoms were due to Porphyria.  They kept treating me for other things until my wife stepped in and read them the riot act. They quickly changed their tune and handed me over to a different team who got the Heam Arginate for the UK (in USA Panhematin) and saved my life.  However, because of the delay, I'd developed all sorts of symptoms that took time to sort themselves out."
  • Dr. Lisa Kehrberg  "Very soon after diagnosis, a PICC line was placed and treatment with Panhematin began. I felt so much better after only a couple of infusions. I was close to death by the time I was diagnosed and certainly would not be alive today had I not met my internist and had I not received Panhematin timely."
  • Amanda Boston  "I had the most amazing privilege participating in the “7203: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial on the efficacy and safety of Panhematin™ in the treatment of acute attacks of porphyria” research study."
  • Charles Johnson "... the frequency of the attacks rendered me unable to keep a schedule and the pain left me unable to work.  Now that I am on Panhematin every two weeks and the attacks have been under control, I am hopeful that I can return to work soon."
  • Cheryl Black-Blair "The procedure itself is similar to IV glucose treatment—certainly no more uncomfortable ... I chatted on the phone through my treatment, and by the time I fell asleep I felt a definite lessening of the pain."
  • Amy Chapman "Dr. Anderson spoke with the physician treating me and advised him on how to care for me. ... I walked out of the hospital feeling so much better, and smiling. I was a new person. Panhematin works so well for me!"
  • Desiree Lyon "I was only seventeen years old when I suffered my first attack of porphyria. The onslaught of pain was rapid and vicious."
  • Jessica Melton "Jessica receives Panhematin regularly to keep her symptoms at bay ... she has been feeling so well that she is now getting her own business off the ground."
  • Megan Railling "Megan was a typical healthy teenager until, for no explainable reason, she became ill with persistent vomiting, abdominal symptoms, bowel dysfunction and major thirty pound weight loss in six weeks. ... Within three months [of beginning Panhematin infusions] Megan was walking and feeling much better."
  • Judy Snyder "I have not had to be hospitalized for an attack in a long time! The Panhematin treatment seems to work for me. I don’t believe I would be here today it weren’t for this drug."
  • Steve Stevens "My hematologist suggested that I be put on a regimen of monthly Panhematin treatments ... I am 55 and have learned not to take life for granted. I know there is no cure for VP but I am trying not to let it dictate my life."
  • Kim Willis-Bregman "Kim's story is really about the struggle of living with AIP for years with no support network, and about the frustrations of not being able to tame the beast until our lucky break with heme therapy."
  • Megan Parrish "The events that led to Megan Parrish's diagnosis were typical of others in many ways but with an added twist.  Since she had a myriad of symptoms with no medical reason, she was sent from doctor to doctor."



To learn more about Recordati Rare Diseases Inc., visit


The Earlier the Better

woman preparing for infusionPreparing Panhematin® for infusion

Although there have been no controlled studies, the results since the first report in 1971 are impressive enough to advocate the early use of Panhematin® for Porphyria attacks. When Panhematin® is given late in an attack, less benefit may occur.

Although it is generally agreed that the outlook for patients with Porphyria has improved, an attack can still be life threatening. Respiratory insufficiency may require use of an artificial respirator. Therefore, Porphyria attacks should be treated as early and effectively as possible. Fortunately, in patients with known Porphyria, many attacks can be prevented. However, some patients may have an occasional attack even if they are careful in their lifestyles. And although prophylactic use of Panhematin® to prevent attacks has not been formally studied, Panhematin® is widely used in this manner for patients known to have acute Porphyria and attacks that recur frequently.

Safety Considerations

Although Panhematin® has few side effects, it does act as a mild anticoagulant. Thus, concurrent use of other anticoagulants such as heparin or Coumadin® (warfarin) should be avoided. Panhematin® may also produce superficial thrombophlebitis, especially if infused into a small vein. Panhematin® is less likely to produce phlebitis if it is mixed with human albumin before it is given. Before Panhematin® is used, it should be clear that the patient indeed suffers from one of the acute Porphyrias (Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP), Hereditary Coproporphyria (HCP), Variegate Porphyria (VP), or ALAD Deficient Porphyria (ADP)) and that the patient's symptoms are due to an acute attack. Panhematin® therapy may not be indicated unless the diagnosis of acute Porphyria is proven by a marked increase in urine PBG.

How to order Panhematin in the U.S.

Customers can order through their primary wholesaler or via ASD Healthcare.
Shipments will be delivered in a shipping box from ASD Healthcare via UPS Next Day Delivery and may be expedited for an additional cost.

Tel: 1-800-746-6273

Other Important Treatment Considerations for the Acute Porphyrias

  • Hospitalization is often necessary for acute attacks. Medications for pain, nausea, and vomiting, as well as close observation are generally required.
  • A high intake of glucose or other carbohydrates can help to suppress disease activity and can be given by vein or by mouth.
  • Attacks are often precipitated by low intake of carbohydrates and calories in an attempt to lose weight. Thus dietary counseling is very important.
  • Premenstrual attacks often resolve quickly with the onset of menses. Hormone manipulations may prevent such attacks.
  • Acute Porphyria is particularly dangerous if the diagnosis has not been made and if harmful drugs are administered. The prognosis is usually good if the disease is recognized and if treatment and preventive measures are begun before severe nerve damage has occurred. Although symptoms usually resolve after an attack, some patients develop chronic pain. Nerve damage and associated muscle weakness can improve over a period of months or longer after a severe attack. Mental symptoms may occur during attacks but are usually not chronic.
  • Wearing a MedicAlert® bracelet is advisable for patients who have been diagnosed with Porphyria.


Anderson KE. The porphyrias. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co; 2004: chap. 223.

Bonkovsky HL, Healey BS, Lourie AN, Gerron GG. Intravenous heme-albumin in Acute Intermittent Porphyria: evidence for repletion of hepatic hemoproteins and regulatory heme pools. Am J Gastroenterol. 1991;86:1050-1056.

Data on file, Recordati Rare Diseases, Inc.


What is the Recordati Rare Diseases Reimbursement Support Program?
The Recordati Rare Diseases Reimbursement support Program is a free service available to patients, caregivers, medical billing staff, healthcare providers, and others who have questions about insurance coverage and reimbursement-related issues.

What does the Recordati Rare Diseases Reimbursement Support Program offer?
The Program offers comprehensive assistance for insurance-related issues:

  • Billing issues – Contact the hotline for assistance obtaining appropriate billing codes required on medical claims or if you need additional documentation to submit with your claims
  • Insurance verification – The hotline representative will contact your insurance company to determine in advance how it will pay for the Recordati Rare Diseases product or related procedure in which you are interested
  • Prior authorization support – The hotline representative can help facilitate the prior authorization process by determining requirements, coordinating paperwork, and following up on the final decision
  • Insurer education – Representatives who staff the hotline can help educate insurers about Recordati Rare Diseases products to expedite coverage and payment
  • Policy monitoring – The Program monitors public and private payor coverage policies to ensure you have the most up-to-date coverage information. Representatives will also answer any questions you have about insurance coverage and reimbursement related to Recordati Rare Diseases products.

Reimbursement Support Contact Information:
Call: 866-209-7604
Fax: 866-209-7599

What if I can't call during the day?

If you are unable to contact us during our regular hours (M - F between 9 am and 5 pm eastern time), simply leave a message with your name, a phone number where you can be reached, and your question.  A reimbursement professional will return your phone call within one business day.

For other Panhematin® related questions:

Dial 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Medical information
For healthcare professionals only
1-888-575-8344 (M-F 8AM-6PM CT)

Safety information?
Adverse events/side effect reporting and product complaints?
1-888-575-8344 (M-F 8AM-6PM CT)

Panhematin® (hemin for injection) can be ordered through a primary wholesaler or by calling
800-746-6273 or email

For full prescribing information, please visit