Recognizing symptoms

Signs and symptoms of AIP often mimic those of other, more common diseases, sometimes making the diagnosis of AIP challenging.

This video describes the combination of genetic and exogenous factors that can result in an AIP attack, signs and symptoms of an AIP attack, and the importance of an accurate and timely diagnosis to prevent serious consequences.

Severe abdominal pain is the most common symptom of AIP, presenting in more than 85% of patients during AIP attacks. Patients may also have other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation, as well as urinary, neurologic, and cardiovascular symptoms. AIP should be suspected in any patient with symptoms that are prominent for AIP, particularly abdominal pain, when initial clinical evaluation does not support another cause.1

Diagnosing acute intermittent porphyria:
A guide for clinicians

Use this guide, which employs an index of suspicion for
AIP based on a patient’s presenting symptoms and history.



  1. Anderson KE, Bloomer JR, Bonkovsky HL, Kushner JP, Pierach CA, Pimstone NR, Desnick RJ. Recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of the acute porphyrias. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:439-450.