Prophylaxis and on-demand treatment
The cornerstone of treatment for haemophilia is clotting factor replacement therapy, and therapy can be given in two ways:
- On-demand i.e. treatment is given when bleeding occurs (e.g. after an injury).
- Prophylaxis i.e. treatment is given on a regular or intermittent basis to prevent bleeding before it begins.
In mild or moderate cases, treatment for haemophilia may only be necessary in response to bleeding (i.e. on-demand). However, most cases of haemophilia are severe and require preventative treatment (i.e. prophylaxis).
The aim of prophylaxis in people with severe haemophilia is to maintain clotting factor levels around 1% of normal – and as a result, prevent spontaneous joint bleeding. This is based on the fact that people with mild or moderate haemophilia (i.e. clotting factor levels 1% or more) generally have few spontaneous joint bleeds and rarely suffer long-term joint damage.
Studies have shown that people with severe haemophilia who receive prophylaxis do have fewer bleeds and healthier joints. As a result, prophylaxis is now the goal of treatment, allowing people with severe haemophilia to remain active and participate more fully in daily life.
Which treatment is right for you?
When determining which type of treatment is right for you, your doctor will weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each of these in the context of your individual case. If you have any questions about your treatment, speak to your Haemophilia Treatment Centre.