Treatments for sickle cell disease

Treatments for sickle cell disease

People with sickle cell disease will need specialist care throughout their lives.

A number of treatments are available to help manage problems caused by the condition. For example:

  • painful episodes can sometimes be prevented by drinking plenty of fluids and staying warm

  • pain can often be treated with ordinary painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, although sometimes treatment with stronger painkillers in hospital may be necessary

  • the risk of infections can be reduced by taking daily antibioticsand ensuring you’re fully vaccinated

  • blood transfusion may be needed if severe anaemia develops

  • a medicine called hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea) can reduce the symptoms if they’re interfering with your or your child’s life

  • having regular blood transfusions (usually every 3-4 weeks) may be helpful if problems continue or get worse, or there are signs of damage caused by the condition

Stem cell or bone marrow transplants can potentially cure sickle cell disease, but they’re not done very often because of the significant risks involved.

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