Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Sickle Cell Anemia
Basic treatment of sickle cell crisis includes:
- Bed rest
- Pain relief medications
- Oral and intravenous fluids
- Oxygen-to reduce pain and prevent complications
In addition, treatment may include:
Newborns with sickle cell disease may be given penicillin. It is given twice a day, beginning at age two months. It is continued until at least five years of age.
It is recommended that children with sickle cell disease who are 2-5 years of age receive pneumococcal vaccine (PCV-7).
Hydroxyurea (Hydrea) is the first drug to significantly prevent complications of sickle cell disease. It increases the production of fetal hemoglobin. This decreases the number of deformed red blood cells. As a result, it reduces the frequency of sickle cell crisis. Hydrea is not appropriate for everyone with sickle cell disease. It is only recommended for people over age 18 who have had at least three painful crises in the previous year.
Blood transfusions can treat and prevent some of the complications. Regular transfusion therapy can help prevent recurring strokes in children.
Bone Marrow Transplant
A bone marrow transplant from a matched donor may be effective. There are medical risks involved. Recipients must also take drugs that suppress the immune system for the rest of their lives.
If you or your child is diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, follow your doctor's instructions.