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Porphyrins Test

Coproporphyrin, Uroporphyrin
Specimen Type: Urine


Porphyrins Test

The Porphyrins test is used to aid in the diagnosis of a category of diseases known as Porphyrias. Porphyrias are a series of inherited disorders which can affect the skin, nervous system, or both.  Porphyrins are normally produced and used by the body during the production of heme which is an essential component of hemoglobin.  If the body is lacking in one or more of the enzymes necessary for this process, the porphyrins can build up in the body to dangerous levels.  Porphyria can lead to complications such as dehydration, high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease, skin damage, and breathing difficulties.  Measuring the levels of porphyrins excreted in the urine can help a person's doctor to diagnose and differentiate between different types of Porphyria.

This test includes measurements for:

  • Coproporphyrin (CP) I
  • Coproporphyrin (CP) III
  • Heptacarboxylporphyrins (7-CP)
  • Hexacarboxylporphyrins (6-CP)
  • Pentacarboxylporphyrins (5-CP)
  • Uroporphyrins (UP) 

Porphyrins testing is typically ordered when a person is showing symptoms associated with Porphyria.  This type of test is most often done to screen for Cutaneous Porphyria which causes blisters, scarring, redness, itching, burning and swelling on the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.  It may also be used to help rule out Neurologic Porphyria which commonly causes symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, confusion or hallucinations.  A Porphobilinogen (PBG) Urine test is more commonly ordered as a screening for Neurologic Porphyria. 

Test results should be interpreted by a doctor who may determine if additional testing is necessary.

Turnaround for this test is typically 4-12 business days.

Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.


It may be necessary to discontinue certain medications which may impact the results of this Porphyrins Test.  Please check with your doctor to determine if you are taking any medications which may affect this test.



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