A farewell to phlebotomy-use of placenta-derived drugs Laennec and Porcine for improving hereditary hemochromatosis without phlebotomy: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2022 Jan 23;16(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s13256-021-03230-5.


Background: Human hepcidin, produced by hepatocytes, regulates intestinal iron absorption, iron recycling by macrophages, and iron release from hepatic storage. Recent studies indicate that hepcidin deficiency is the underlying cause of the most known form of hereditary hemochromatosis.

Case presentation: A 44-year-old Asian man who developed type 2 diabetes mellitus had elevated serum ferritin levels (10,191 ng/mL). Liver biopsy revealed remarkable iron deposition in the hepatocytes and relatively advanced fibrosis (F3). Chromosomal analysis confirmed the presence of transferrin receptor type 2 mutations (c.1100T>G, c.2008_9delAC, hereditary hemochromatosis type 3 analyzed by Kawabata). The patient received intravenous infusions of Laennec (672 mg/day, three times/week) or oral administration with Porcine (3.87 g/day) for 84 months as an alternative to repeated phlebotomy. At the end of the treatment period, serum ferritin level decreased to 428.4 ng/mL (below the baseline level of 536.8 ng/mL). Hemoglobin A1c levels also improved after treatment with the same or lower dose of insulin (8.8% before versus 6.8% after). Plural liver biopsies revealed remarkable improvements in the grade of iron deposition and fibrosis (F3 before versus F1 after) of the liver tissue.

Conclusion: The discovery of hepcidin and its role in iron metabolism could lead to novel therapies for hereditary hemochromatosis. Laennec (parenteral) and Porcine (oral), which act as hepcidin inducers, actually improved iron overload in this hereditary hemochromatosis patient, without utilizing sequential phlebotomy. This suggests the possibility of not only improving the prognosis of hereditary hemochromatosis (types 1, 2, and 3) but also ameliorating complications, such as type 2 diabetes, liver fibrosis, and hypogonadism. Laennec and Porcine can completely replace continuous venesection in patients with venesection and may improve other iron-overloading disorders caused by hepcidin deficiency.

Keywords: Case report; Hepatocyte; Hepcidin; Hereditary hemochromatosis; Human placental extract; Iron metabolism; Iron-overloading disease; Phlebotomy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Hemochromatosis* / drug therapy
  • Hemochromatosis* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Phlebotomy
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Swine


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations