Recognizing symptoms

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

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

Watch this video to hear porphyria experts, Robert Desnick, Ph.D, MD, Dean for Genetics and Genomic Medicine and Manisha Balwani, MS, MD, Associate Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai discuss what signs and symptoms to look for and what precipitating factors to be aware of when identifying a patient with possible AIP.

Watch Video

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.