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Sickle Cell Treatment
Sickle Cell over-the-counter pain relievers Blood Transfusions  Bone marrow transplant

Learning about the current treatment options for sickle cell will help you develop a comprehensive care plan with your healthcare team.  Knowing how to manage symptoms and complications can help you or your loved ones
navigate sickle cell care.

Treatment Options

Sickle cell affects everyone differently. Current therapies mainly focus on managing the symptoms of sickle cell and require lifelong use. Recent progress in sickle cell has led to treatment options that have the potential to help manage acute and chronic symptoms of the disease.

Treatment options include:

Sickle Cell Treatments

Sickle cell treatments may help reduce the frequency and severity of pain crises, and reduce blood transfusions and hospitalizations.

Medications to Manage Pain

Chronic pain is prevalent among people with sickle cell and is commonly treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. Pain medications may also be prescribed by a doctor to treat acute and chronic pain.

Blood Transfusions

Blood transfusions can help relieve symptoms of sickle cell and potentially prevent stroke and other complications in high-risk patients. There are 2 types of transfusions used for people with sickle cell: A simple transfusion and a red blood cell exchange. In a simple transfusion, donated blood is given to a patient; in a red blood cell exchange, a patient’s red blood cells are removed and replaced with healthy red blood cells. Blood transfusions are a common procedure but risks can include an immune response to the donated blood, infection, and excess iron buildup in the body (iron overload).

Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (Bone marrow transplant)

A hematopoietic cell transplant (also called a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant), is a type of treatment that replaces blood stem cells with cells from a donor. Bone marrow transplants are currently the only treatment that can lead to a cure; however, they are mostly limited to people who are under the age of 18 and have a match-related donor available. Bone marrow transplants do not treat the underlying gene mutation that causes sickle cell.

If you want to learn more about these options, it’s important to talk to your healthcare team about the benefits and potentially severe risks involved. 

Unmet Needs in Care

Significant strides have been made in the treatment of sickle cell, but it is not enough; serious medical and social burdens remain. There is still a need for treatments that can eliminate lifelong symptom management and its unwanted side effects.
Photo of Cory, who lives with sickle cell, discussing the importance of being proactive
 

Be proactive. Don’t wait. We must remember to always LISTEN to our bodies. Such as knowing your hemoglobin levels, and how you feel they fluctuate. Because not knowing, and just waiting till something tragic happens could be the difference in a warriors' life.”

Be proactive. Don’t wait. We must remember to always LISTEN to our bodies. Such as knowing your hemoglobin levels, and how you feel they fluctuate. Because not knowing, and just waiting till something tragic happens could be the difference in a warriors' life.”

CORY

Living With Sickle Cell

What Can You Do?

Building a comprehensive healthcare team that focuses on specialists from different areas may help you and your loved ones manage your acute and chronic complications. It’s important to work with your care team to design a plan that works for you. 
Every voice, no matter how big or small,
can spark a conversation and action to
help drive change for sickle cell.


Recognizing how sickle cell impacts your
life may help spark important
discussions with others.
How does sickle cell affect you?