Patient have effective treatments available to them to help in relieving the symptoms of sickle cell disease, but in most cases there is no cure.
- Managing Pain: Mild pain crises can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications, hydration and heating pads. Severe pain may need to be treated with upon evaluation in the emergency room and or inpatient hospitalization.
- Hydroxyurea: Only FDA-approved drug for sickle cell anemia. It is use routinely in adults and older adults in hope of reducing the number of painful crises and hospitalizations. Taking this medication can have some serious side effects which should be monitored very closely by your hematologist (sickle cell disease expert).
- Preventing Infections: To prevent infection which are very common with sickle cell anemia includes daily doses of penicillin for children as early as age 2 to at least age 5. Vaccinations for pneumonia, meninigitis, influenza, hepatitis B and annual flu shots should be done.
- Transfusions: In children with sickle cell disease, regular ultrasounds of the head are routinely done. If your child is at high risk for a stroke, routine blood tranfusions are started to prevent future strokes. Transfusions may also be required during acute chest syndrome crises.
- Bone Marrow Transplant: Is the most effective treatment for sickle cell anemia. Bone marrow used for a transplant must come from a closely matched donor usually a close family member without sickle cell anemia.