Understanding Infusion: Enzyme Replacement Therapy

Enzymes are crucial molecules in the human body, acting as catalysts to help reactions and assist in break downs throughout certain cells and saliva. But when someone has a Lysosomal Storage Disorder (LSD), their enzymes fail to function properly and they need to receive enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), which is administered through an IV. PHS nurses come to the patient’s home to provide infusions of medication prescribed to address their disorder, allowing life to go uninterrupted.

Lysosomal Storage Disorders can include (but aren’t limited to):

Fabry disease – an inherited disorder that causes a buildup of fatty material in the autonomic nervous system, eyes, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. This disorder is treated with Fabrazyme.

Pompe disease – an inherited disorder caused by the buildup of a complex sugar called glycogen in the body’s cells. This disorder is treated with Lumizyme.

Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) – a group of metabolic disorders caused by the defective activity of lysosomal enzymes needed to break down molecules. Some types of MPS we see at PHS include:

  • Hurler syndrome (MPS IH): The absence of lysosomal alpha-L-iduronidase, an enzyme which breaks down long chains of sugar molecules.
  • Hunter syndrome (MPS II): Inadequate production of the enzyme iduronate sulfatase, which is needed to break down complex sugars in the body. This disorder is treated with Elaprase.
  • Morquio A (MPS IVA): An absence or lack of glycosaminoglycans, a substance responsible for breaking down long chains of sugar molecules. This disorder is treated with VIMIZIM.

Gaucher’s disease (the most prevalent LSD) – an inherited disorder that is the result of a buildup of fatty substances in certain organs, and the enzyme’s inability to break down these substances.  This disorder is treated with VPRIV.

If you or someone you know is in need of enzyme replacement therapy and want it to work around your schedule, call PHS at 651-642-1825 and ask to speak with an infusion nurse.

Originally published: March 20, 2015

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