What is the treatment for haemophilia?
Treatment and care for people with haemophilia involves a team of specialist health professionals to cover the range of their care needs. This is known as ‘comprehensive care
Comprehensive care is coordinated by a Haemophilia Treatment Centre (HTC).
There is at least one specialist HTC in every state and territory in Australia
, which are mostly located in a major public hospital. HTCs have a team of health professionals with expertise in treatment and care for people with bleeding disorders including haemophilia.
There are a variety of treatment products used to treat haemophilia.
New and emerging treatments for haemophilia
Researchers are always looking for new ways to treat haemophilia. New treatments are now in development and becoming available. Some of these new treatments mean less infusions, or that factor is injected into a muscle instead of into a vein.
Clotting factor concentrates
is the most widely used type of concentrate. This is made by genetic engineering and contains little or no material from human blood or animals. There are several brands available manufactured by different pharmaceutical companies.
Plasma factor concentrates
are also used by some people. These are made from the plasma (pale yellow fluid part) in human blood.
Clotting factor concentrate can be given:
- On demand – before surgery, childbirth or dental treatment, or after an injury or accident, or once a bleed has started.
- As prophylaxis – taken regularly, weekly to four times a week, to prevent bleeds or reduce bleeding from injury.
Factor concentrates are infused (injected) into a vein at home by parents trained to treat their child, or by people themselves when they are confident enough to do it, or at the Haemophilia Treatment Centre.
This is a synthetic hormone which releases the body’s stored factor VIII into the bloodstream to help blood clot. It is used for treating some people with mild haemophilia A. DDAVP can be given as a slow injection into a vein, but may also be given as an injection subcutaneously (into the fatty tissue under the skin).
This slows blood clots from breaking down after they have been formed. It can help to treat mouth or nosebleeds, gut bleeding or bleeding after dental work. Most commonly it is taken as tablets, syrup or in a mouthwash.
, such as oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
, can help women who have heavy menstrual bleeding. The hormones can increase factor VIII levels.
After treatment with a clotting factor product, some people with haemophilia may develop antibodies – known as ‘inhibitors’ - which make treatment less effective. There are a number of ways to treat inhibitors and many people are successful in overcoming them while others have ongoing problems.