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Treatment of hemophilia: a review of current advances and ongoing issues

Authors Coppola A, Di Capua M, Di Minno MND, Di Palo M, Marrone E, Ieranò P, Arturo C, Tufano A, Cerbone AM

Published 30 August 2010 Volume 2010:1 Pages 183—195

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JBM.S6885

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Antonio Coppola, Mirko Di Capua, Matteo Nicola Dario Di Minno, Mariagiovanna Di Palo, Emiliana Marrone, Paola Ieranò, Claudia Arturo, Antonella Tufano, Anna Maria Cerbone

Regional Reference Center for Coagulation Disorders, Federico II University Hospital, Naples, Italy

Abstract: Replacement of the congenitally deficient factor VIII or IX through plasma-derived or recombinant concentrates is the mainstay of treatment for hemophilia. Concentrate infusions when hemorrhages occur typically in joint and muscles (on-demand treatment) is able to resolve bleeding, but does not prevent the progressive joint deterioration leading to crippling hemophilic arthropathy. Therefore, primary prophylaxis, ie, regular infusion of concentrates started after the first joint bleed and/or before the age of two years, is now recognized as first-line treatment in children with severe hemophilia. Secondary prophylaxis, whenever started, aims to avoid (or delay) the progression of arthropathy and improve patient quality of life. Interestingly, recent data suggest a role for early prophylaxis also in preventing development of inhibitors, the most serious complication of treatment in hemophilia, in which multiple genetic and environmental factors may be involved. Treatment of bleeds in patients with inhibitors requires bypassing agents (activated prothrombin complex concentrates, recombinant factor VIIa). However, eradication of inhibitors by induction of immune tolerance should be the first choice for patients with recent onset inhibitors. The wide availability of safe factor concentrates and programs for comprehensive care has now resulted in highly satisfactory treatment of hemophilia patients in developed countries. Unfortunately, this is not true for more than two-thirds of persons with hemophilia, who live in developing countries.

Keywords:
bleeding, comprehensive care, clotting factor concentrates, hemophilia, inhibitors, prophylaxis, treatment

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