What is the Treatment of Von Willebrand Disease?
Treatment for von Willebrand disease (VWD) is based on the type of VWD you have and how severe it is. Most cases of VWD are mild, and you may need treatment only if you have surgery, tooth extraction, or an accident.
Medicines are used to:
- Increase the release of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII into the bloodstream
- Replace von Willebrand factor
- Prevent the breakdown of blood clots
- Control heavy menstrual bleeding in women
Desmopressin (DDAVP) is a synthetic hormone that you usually take by injection or nasal spray. It makes your body release more von Willebrand factor and factor VIII into your bloodstream. DDAVP works for most people who have type 1 VWD and for some who have type 2 VWD.
Von Willebrand factor replacement therapy is an infusion of a concentrate of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII into a vein in your arm. This treatment may be used if you:
- Can't take DDAVP or need extended treatment
- Have type 1 VWD that doesn't respond to DDAVP
- Have type 2 or type 3 VWD
Antifibrinolytic medicines help prevent the breakdown of blood clots. They're mostly used to stop bleeding after minor surgery, tooth extraction, or an injury. These medicines may be used alone or together with DDAVP and replacement therapy.
Fibrin glue is medicine that's placed directly on a wound to stop bleeding.
Treatments for Women
Treatments for women who have VWD with heavy menstrual bleeding include:
• Combined oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
The hormones in these pills can increase the amount of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII in your bloodstream and reduce menstrual blood loss. Birth control pills are the most recommended birth control method for women who have VWD.
• A levonorgestrel intrauterine device
This is a contraceptive device that contains the hormone progestin. The device is placed in the uterus (womb).
• Aminocaproic acid or tranexamic acid
These antifibrinolytic medicines can reduce bleeding by slowing the breakdown of blood clots.
For some women who are done having children or don't want children, endometrial ablation is done. This procedure destroys the lining of the uterus. It has been shown to reduce menstrual blood loss in women who have VWD.
If you need a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) for another reason, this procedure will stop menstrual bleeding and possibly improve your quality of life. However, hysterectomy carries its own risk of bleeding complications.
Source: National Institute of Health Jan 07, 2013
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