, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 305-320

Current Options and New Developments in the Treatment of Haemophilia

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Abstract

Haemophilia A and B are X-linked bleeding disorders due to the inherited deficiency of factor VIII or factor IX, respectively. Of the approximately 1 per 5000–10000 male births affected by haemophilia, 80% are deficient in factor VIII and 20% are deficient in factor IX. Haemophilia is characterized by spontaneous and provoked joint, muscle, gastrointestinal and CNS bleeding leading to major morbidity and even mortality if left untreated or undertreated. The evolution of haemophilia management has been marked by tragedy and triumph over recent decades. Clotting factors and replacement strategies continue to evolve for patients without inhibitors. For patients with an inhibitor, factor replacement for acute bleeding episodes and immune tolerance, immune modulation and extracorporeal methods for inhibitor reduction are the cornerstone of care. In addition, adjuvant therapies such as desmopressin, antifibrinolytics and topical agents also contribute to improved outcomes for patients with and without inhibitors. The future direction of haemophilia care is promising with new longer-acting clotting factors and genetic therapies, including gene transfer and premature termination codon suppressors. With these current and future treatment modalities, the morbidity and mortality rates in patients with haemophilia certainly will continue to improve.