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Porphyria Cutanea Tarda

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is porphyria cutanea tarda?

Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is a disorder that causes skin to form blisters or lesions when exposed to sunlight. PCT is a form of porphyria, a disorder that affects how your body makes red blood cells (RBC). A chemical called porphyrin builds up in your skin. Proteins are released that cause the skin to become overly sensitive to sunlight. Skin lesions or blisters form where the skin was exposed to sunlight. PCT can be genetic or caused by exposure to certain chemicals or infections.

What increases my risk for PCT?

What are the signs and symptoms of PCT?

The signs and symptoms are mostly in the skin and are worse during summer. You may have any of the following:

How is PCT diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms. He or she will ask about your medical history and family medical history. Samples of your blood, urine, or bowel movement may be collected. Blood tests check for the enzymes needed to control RBC production, and your porphyrin level.

How is PCT treated?

Healthcare providers may suggest that you avoid the conditions and substances that trigger PCT. You may also need any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I prevent a PCT attack?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.