Nursing Interventions for Porphyria (Vampire Disease)



  • Monitor vital signs.
  • Reduce or eliminate triggers such as certain medications or too much sunlight, which activates the disease.
  • Phlebotomy may be ordered at regular intervals (before cutaneous porphyria goes into remission) as drawing a certain amount of blood from one of the patient’s veins reduces the iron in the body, which decreases porphyrins.
  • Administer drugs used to treat malaria (as ordered) such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) or, less often, chloroquine (Aralen). These can absorb excess porphyrins and help the body get rid of them more quickly than usual. These medications are generally used only in people who can’t tolerate a phlebotomy.
  • Provide a diet high in carbohydrates (collaborate with nutritionist)
  • Administer daily doses of prescription beta carotene (as ordered) since it may increase the skin’s tolerance to sunlight
  • Administer supplements such as Vitamin D (as ordered) to replace vitamin D deficiency caused by avoidance of sunlight
  • Monitor blood gases
  • Maintain the body’s electrolyte balance
  • Protect patient’s skin from injury or infection.


Sources: images

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