Treatments for Hemolytic Anemia in Children

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Treatment of hemolytic anemia varies depending on its cause and may include: 

Steroid therapy:

  • Increases hemoglobin or red blood cells
  • Taken orally in liquid or pill form every day or every other day in divided doses
  • sSde effects may include: upset stomach, increased appetite, weight gain, unstable blood sugars, increased blood pressure, decreased height and increased risk for infection
  • Dose is often low enough that few or no side effects occur

Red blood cell transfusions:

  • Used when anemia is unusually severe or when steroid therapy is not effective
  • Red blood cells are delivered through a needle or catheter inserted into a vein.
  • Given at hospital or outpatient transfusion center
  • Transfusions typically take two to four hours and may be repeated every four to eight weeks.
  • Side effects may include: fever, headache, hives, allergic reaction, infection and iron overload

Intravenous immune globulin:

  • Human blood product that strengthens the immune system
  • Given through a needled inserted into a vein
  • Temporary side effects include: mild anemia, fever, chills, headache, blood pressure changes or allergic reactions

If your child has severe hemolytic anemia, the following treatments, usually given while in the hospital, may be needed: 

  • Exchange transfusion to replace damaged blood with fresh blood
  • Surgery to remove the spleen (usually reserved for children who do not respond to other therapies)
  • Immunosuppressive therapy (therapy to suppress the immune system)

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