People with Ornithine transcarbamlyase deficiency who rely on medical foods

Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency is an inherited disorder that causes ammonia to accumulate in the blood. Ammonia, which is formed when proteins are broken down in the body, is toxic if the levels become too high. The nervous system is especially sensitive to the effects of excess ammonia. Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency can become evident at any age from infancy to adulthood in both males and females. The most severe form causes catastrophic elevations of ammonia in the blood in the first few days of life. An infant with the neonatal-onset form of ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency may be lethargic or unwilling to eat, and have a poorly-controlled breathing rate or body temperature. Infants with this severe form of the disorder may be described as “floppy” and can experience seizures or coma. The late-onset form of the disorder occurs at any age outside the newborn period. Children and adults with late-onset ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency may experience episodes of altered mental status, such as delirium, erratic behavior, or a reduced level of consciousness. Headaches, vomiting, aversion to protein foods, and seizures can also occur in this form of the disorder. The effects of ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency may include developmental delay and intellectual disability. Progressive liver damage may also occur. In some mildly-affected individuals, signs and symptoms of ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency may be less severe, and may not appear until later in life.

The Medical Nutrition Equity Act will provide key support for those Americans who rely on medical foods to survive and thrive.