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This is a deeper swelling within the layers of tissue than urticaria and can progress into the subcutaneous tissue below the dermis and may also involve the mucous membranes.  They are regarded as anaphylaxis, limited to the skin and subcutaneous tissue.


  • Acute allergic angioedema
  • Non allergic drug reactions
  • Idiopathic (cause unknown) angioedema
  • Inherited angioedema.  The onset often doesn't present until the person reaches puberty


  • Drug allergy - penicillin, sulphur
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Ingesting certain foods - most common being  eggs, dairy, shellfish, nuts, wheat products(gluten), strawberries
  • Chemicals
  • Airborne Allergens
  • Localised trauma
  • Heavy exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Alcohol
  • Hormonal
  • Heredity enzyme deficiency
  • Food additives


  • More diffuse swelling that is painful and travels further into the subcutaneous tissue than in urticaria. 
  • The dorsum of the hands and feet can be involved.
  • Swelling of the eyelids, lips, genitalia and mucous membranes.
  • Oedema of the upper airways may cause respiratory distress.
  • Early respiratory distress can initially be mistaken for asthma but as swelling of the tongue and throat become apparent the condition becomes more obvious.
  • Acute pharyngeal( back of throat leading to stomach) or laryngeal (airway to lungs) involvement will usually require medical intervention.
  • Severe cases can include difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting.
  • If the gastro-intestinal tract is involved severe pain and cramps may occur.
  • Swelling may become painful with burning sensation.
  • It may or may not become itchy.
  • The oedema usually spreads slowly and can last three or four days.
  • It can however be highly reactive.

Inherited Angioedema

In 85% of cases there is a deficiency due to a lack of C1 esterase inhibitor and in the other 15% there is a malfunction in the esterase inhibitor.  Usually there is a family history in place but there are still a few exceptions.

Oedema experience is usually uni-focal and painful rather than pruritic but usually accompanied by urticaria to some degree.

Attacks are usually initiated by trauma physical and or emotional or a viral illness.

There is often GI(gastrointestinal) involvement with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, colicky pain, and the intestine may feel obstructed as it swells.

If it involves the upper airway it require medical intervention as the condition can be fatal.

Your medical practitioner can do an immunoassay to determine a C1 deficiency.

Sometimes diseases induces an acquired form as a secondary disease such as lymphoma.

The disease progresses until the "complement components" have been consumed by the body.


Look into the latest research on the mast cell underlying cause page.
Contact us for treatment advice 







ABOUT US is a New Zealand wide online retail pharmacy supplying OTC (over-the-counter) Pharmacy-Only and General Sales Medicines, as well as other health-related products.  We also offer prescription medicines in accordance with a legal New Zealand prescription.  We are a registered pharmacy conveniently located in Waitakere City, Auckland and have been operating to the public as a licensed pharmacy since 1987.  
We strive to provide the most competitive prices for both prescription and non-prescription items in all of New Zealand.  We aim to simplify your shopping experience, and to minimise the time and cost of delivery for your convenience.  For us, it is about you as the customer, we do not believe in bombarding you or pushing unneccessary products, just getting you what you need promptly and at the best price.
In accordance with legal obligations, all medicines sold are under the supervision of a New Zealand Registered pharmacist, as well as this we have other relevant qualified staff working for us to deliver our promise of top service to you. We are located at:
Shop 1A/ 4343 Great North Road,
Glendene, 0602
If you have any queries, dont hesitate to contact us:
By email:

By mail:          PO Box 69 189,
                       Glendene, 0645
By phone:   09 222 3144
By fax:        09 838 3144 


Glendene Community Pharmacy Ltd
GST 123-002-296



Ph 09 222 3144
Fax 09 838 3144

SHOP 1A/ 4343 Great North Road,
PO BOX 69-189