In most cases of hemophilia, treatment involves replacing the clotting factor that is too low or missing. This is known as replacement therapy, and it can be used to prevent bleeding or to stop bleeding when it occurs. Clotting factor concentrates that are used in treating this condition may come from donated blood or from lab-produced clotting factors. Other options include a synthetic hormone known as desmopressin and antifibrinolytic drugs.
The primary means of treating hemophilia is replacement therapy. This involves replacing the clotting factor that is too low or missing. Concentrates of the clotting factor are infused or injected directly into the bloodstream. The specific factors used for hemophilia are:
Replacement therapy can be used to prevent bleeding (preventive therapy) or to stop bleeding when it occurs (demand therapy).
The type of treatment for hemophilia that you receive will depend on several factors, including whether you have mild, moderate, or severe hemophilia. For instance:
- Mild hemophilia may not cause any symptoms for years, so treatment may not be needed.
- Moderate hemophilia may require treatment only when bleeding occurs. People with moderate hemophilia should learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of bleeding so that they can get medical attention as quickly as possible. They may also receive hemophilia treatment to prevent bleeding that could occur when participating in some activities.
- Severe hemophilia usually requires long-term or shorter-term preventive therapy to prevent bleeding that could cause permanent damage to joints, muscles, or other parts of the body. However, some people with severe hemophilia receive treatment only when bleeding occurs.
When bleeding occurs, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible -- delayed treatment can lead to complications.