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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Fabry disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Alpha-galactosidase A deficiency
  • Anderson-Fabry disease
  • Angiokeratoma corporis diffusum
  • Angiokeratoma, diffuse
  • Ceramide trihexosidase deficiency
More Names
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How might Fabry disease be treated?

Management for Fabry disease may include treatment of specific signs and symptoms as well as prevention of secondary complications.

Treatment for acroparesthesias (pain in the extremities) may include diphenylhydantoin and/or carbamazepine to reduce the frequency and severity of pain crises; or gabapentin, which has also been shown to improve pain.[1]

Renal insufficiency may be treated with ACE inhibitors. Experts recommend ACE inhibitors for all individuals with evidence of kidney involvement, especially to reduce protein in the urine (proteinuria). Chronic hemodialysis and/or renal transplantation have become lifesaving procedures for affected individuals. The transplanted kidney remains free of the harmful fatty substance (glycosphingolipid) deposition. Therefore, successful renal transplantation corrects the renal function. Transplantation of kidneys from carriers for Fabry disease should be avoided because these kidneys may already be affected. All potential donors that are relatives of the affected individual should be evaluated for their genetic status to make sure they are not affected or a carrier.[1]

Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is generally used to improve some of the the signs and symptoms associated with Fabry disease and to stabilize organ function. Experts have recommended that ERT be started as early as possible in all males with Fabry disease (including children and those with end stage renal disease (ESRD) undergoing dialysis and renal transplantation) and in female carriers that are significantly affected. All of these individuals are at high risk for cardiac, cerebrovascular (interruption of blood supply to the brain), and neurologic complications, such as transient ischemic attacks and strokes. The role of ERT in the long-term prevention of renal, cardiac, and central nervous system (CNS) involvement is unproven; however, because ERT can stabilize organ function in individuals with more advanced disease, some have suggested starting ERT in early disease stages. This might include starting ERT when an individual is asymptomatic.[1]

Prevention of complications such as renovascular disease (conditions affecting the blood vessels of the kidneys), ischemic heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease in affected individuals is generally the same as for the general population. Measures taken may include ACE inhibitors and/or ARB drugs for proteinuria or albuminemia (high levels of albumin in the blood); blood pressure control; and cholesterol control. Aspirin and other medications may be recommended for the prevention of stroke.[1]

Surveillance may include yearly or more frequent renal function studies, yearly cardiology evaluation, and yearly hearing evaluation.[1]
Last updated: 8/2/2011

  1. Atul Mehta, Derralynn A Hughes. Fabry Disease. GeneReviews. March 10, 2011; Accessed 8/2/2011.

Management Guidelines

  • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles describing the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions. Click on the link to view the article on this topic.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • lists trials that are studying or have studied Fabry disease. Click on the link to go to to read descriptions of these studies.
  • The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) provides access to reports, data, and analyses of research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including information on NIH expenditures and the results of NIH-supported research. Although these projects may not conduct studies on humans, you may want to contact the investigators to learn more. To search for studies, click on the link and enter the disease name in the "Terms Search" box. Then click "Submit Query".

Medical Products

The medication(s) listed in the table(s) below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of this condition. The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development designates "orphan products" for those that treat rare diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans. The table(s) below may not be an exhaustive list of drugs or products used to treat this condition. There may be other products available that are not considered orphan products. To search for all FDA approved drugs, visit Drugs@FDA. You can find orphan products used to treat other conditions by searching the Orphan Drug Product Designation database.

Generic Name Ceramide trihexosidase/alpha-galactosidase A
Trade Name
(Manufacturer Name)
(Genzyme Corporation)
The FDA has approved this product to be used in this manner.
For use in patients with Fabry disease to reduce globotriaosylceramide (GL-3) deposition in capillary endothelium of the kidney and certain other cell types
More Information about this product Drug Information Portal