Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

While there's no cure for hemophilia, most people with the disease can lead fairly normal lives.

Hemophilia treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition:

  • Mild hemophilia A. Treatment may involve slow injection of the hormone desmopressin (DDAVP) into a vein to stimulate a release of more clotting factor to stop bleeding. Occasionally, desmopressin is given as a nasal medication.
  • Moderate to severe hemophilia A or hemophilia B. Bleeding may stop only after an infusion of clotting factor derived from donated human blood or from genetically engineered products called recombinant clotting factors. Repeated infusions may be needed if internal bleeding is serious.
  • Hemophilia C. The clotting factor missing in this type of hemophilia (factor XI) is available only in Europe. In the U.S., plasma infusions are needed to stop bleeding episodes.

Regular preventive infusions of a clotting factor may help prevent bleeding. This approach may reduce time spent in the hospital and away from home, work or school and limit side effects such as damage to joints. Your doctor or child's doctor can train you to perform infusions of desmopressin or the clotting factor at home, work or school.

Another class of drugs called antifibrinolytics is sometimes prescribed along with clotting factor replacement therapy. These medications help prevent clots from breaking down.

If internal bleeding has damaged joints, physical therapy can help them function better. Therapy can preserve their mobility and help prevent frozen or badly deformed joints. In cases where repeated bouts of internal bleeding has damaged or destroyed joints, an artificial joint may be needed.

For minor cuts

If you or your child experiences a small cut or scrape, using pressure and a bandage will generally take care of the bleeding. For small areas of bleeding beneath the skin, use an ice pack. Ice pops can be used to slow down minor bleeding in the mouth.

Aug. 31, 2011