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Adolesc Med. 2002 Jun;13(2):315-29, vii.

The adolescent with an inborn error of metabolism: medical issues and transition to adulthood.

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  • 1Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305-5208, USA.


As patients with inborn errors of metabolism survive longer, understanding of potential medical and psychiatric complications adolescence and adulthood has increased. In general, detailed therapeutic guidelines for specific metabolic disorders are not available, and medical management must be tailored to the individual patient. Close interaction between the biochemical genetics clinic staff, primary care physician, mental health professional, and other specialists is necessary to formulate an integrated care plan. The education of the patient and family is a critical function of the biochemical genetics clinic, and transition from dependence on parents or other care providers to full independence is gradual. The ultimate goal is for the patient to have the essential knowledge and motivation required to cope responsibly with dietary and medical therapeutic regimens by adolescence or early adulthood. Specific illustrative inborn errors of metabolism are discussed (aminoacidemias, urea cycle defects, organic acidemias, fatty acid oxidation defects, disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, lysosomal storage disorders) in light of potential problems encountered in adolescence and adulthood, including issues involving pregnancy and long-term medical, psychosocial, and psychiatric complications.

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