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August 28, 1967

Porphyria Cutanea Tarda and Estrogens

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit. Dr. Vail is now with the Summit (NJ) Medical Group.

JAMA. 1967;201(9):671-674. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130090035008

Porphyria cutanea tarda can be induced by a variety of compounds, including estrogens. Cutaneous manifestations of the disease are characterized chiefly by a light- and trauma-sensitive eruption of exposed areas. In two cases occurring secondary to estrogens, improvement followed estrogen withdrawal. Estrogens are known to be capable of impairing hepatic excretory function, but their precise role in inducing porphyria is not understood. It is possible that in predisposed individuals they inhibit enzymes necessary for the normal metabolism of porphyrins.