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C1 Esterase Inhibitor Function

Adults and teenagers as young as 13 years old may receive a medicine called C1 esterase inhibitor (Berinert®, Cinryze®) to help relieve pain and swelling caused by hereditary angioedema (HAE). But how does C1 esterase inhibitor function to treat this rare genetic condition?
C1 esterase inhibitor helps regulate certain functions in the body associated with swelling and inflammation. In people with HAE, C1 inhibitor is either not produced in adequate amounts or the C1 inhibitor produced does not function as it should. As a result, the blood vessels leak fluid, causing painful swelling in various parts of the body.
One brand-name version of C1 esterase inhibitor (Cinryze) is prescribed to help prevent HAE attacks, while the other brand-name version (Berinert) is used to help treat an HAE attack that has already started.
(To learn more about the function of this drug, click What Is C1 Esterase Inhibitor Used For?. This Web page takes an in-depth look at how it works, who it is designed for, and whether there are off-label uses.)
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