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Complement Deficiency Treatment & Management

  • Author: Ruchir Agrawal, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 18, 2015

Medical Care

See the list below:

  • No specific treatment is available for genetically acquired complement deficiencies; however, acute attacks of hereditary angioedema (HAE), C1INH deficiency, have been successfully treated with infusion of vapor-heated C1 esterase inhibitor. Androgen therapy can be used to prevent HAE attacks. These treatments are recommended only in adults. A study in the Netherlands indicated efficacy of self-administration of plasma-derived C1INH concentrate for prevention and treatment of angioedema attacks in patients with C1INH deficiency.
  • Only supportive therapy is available for other complement deficiencies. Fresh frozen plasma is used for emergent replacement of complement components.
  • Genes have been cloned for individual component deficiencies. Therefore, gene therapy may be a choice in the future.
  • All routine vaccines are recommended in complement deficiency.
    • Meningococcal vaccine is recommended for children with early or terminal complement component or properdin deficiencies.
    • Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for deficiency of early components. The effects of influenza plus pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in preventing respiratory tract infections was recently studied.


See the list below:

  • Consultation with a physician who specializes in immunodeficiency disorders may be considered.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Ruchir Agrawal, MD Chief, Allergy and Immunology, Aurora Sheboygan Clinic

Ruchir Agrawal, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Harumi Jyonouchi, MD Faculty, Division of Allergy/Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Saint Peter's University Hospital

Harumi Jyonouchi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Medical Association, Clinical Immunology Society, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Society for Pediatric Research, Society for Mucosal Immunology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Vishweswar Chilumkurti, MBBS, MPH, MHA Consultant, CEA, Australia

Vishweswar Chilumkurti, MBBS, MPH, MHA is a member of the following medical societies: Medical Council of India, Indian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Russell W Steele, MD Clinical Professor, Tulane University School of Medicine; Staff Physician, Ochsner Clinic Foundation

Russell W Steele, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Pediatric Society, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Louisiana State Medical Society, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Southern Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


John Wilson Georgitis, MD Consulting Staff, Lafayette Allergy Services

John Wilson Georgitis, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Chest Physicians, American Lung Association, American Medical Writers Association, and American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Scheme showing the cascade of events during the activation of the complement system.
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