Due to continuous efforts of doctors, patients can live up to 25 years or more. Otherwise as Thalassemia Major Patient cannot survive the age of 2 years if a life time and supportive treatment is not given.
There are two types of treatment:
- Supportive Treatment
- Curative Treatment
- Regular Blood Transfusion (normally started within 4 months to 12 months of age).
- 2. Iron Chelating Treatment
There are two methods of Iron Chelation
- Injection through infusion pump
- Oral Medicine
Normally after one year of blood transfusion the patient is depended upon
Iron chelation therapy
- Hydro Oxyuria Medicine (Latest treatment)
Bone Marrow Transplant
- (BMT) is the only definitive cure for Thalassemia but it has its risks. These risks depend mostly on availability of a compatible family donor, generally a sibling, and the age and heath of your child at the time of transplant.
- It consists of replacing your child’s faulty bone marrow stem cells, from which red cells originate, with those obtained from a healthy compatible donor.
- BMT is costly and beyond the affordability of affected families.
Blood Transfusion: Transfusion of red blood cells is one of the most regularly practiced treatments for Thalassemia. Patients require red blood cell transfusions every two to three weeks.
Iron Chelation: Blood transfusions bring extra iron into the body and if transfusions are regular, iron gradually accumulates in the body and is stored in certain organs, especially the liver, the heart and the endocrine glands. This accumulated iron damages the organs where it is deposited. Fortunately, there are drugs that help the drainage of iron out of the body. The medicine used commonly is Desferrioxamine, more commonly called ‘Desferal’.
Bone Marrow Transplant: This problem may be solved if the bone marrow be replaced with a normal bone marrow. At present, only young people with a fully compatible donor can have a bone-marrow transplant. It is very expensive treatment and beyond affordability of many families.
The illness and its implications are changing almost from day to day, due to advances in treatment. With timely and correct treatment, Thalassemics live longer and relatively healthier lives now. It is reasonable to think that people with Thalassemia, well treated from the beginning, may live as long as people without Thalassemia, mean an excellent life-expectancy.