What are the treatments for myelodysplasia?

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Myelodysplasia is a group of disorders that affect the bone marrow, inhibiting the production of healthy blood cells for the entire body, reports the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, myelodysplasia is life-threatening, and as such, doctors employ a variety of methods to treat the disorder.

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Transfusions

Doctors often utilise blood transfusions to replace red blood cells in patients with myelodysplasia. This does not cure the condition, but alleviates fatigue and anaemia often experienced by patients.

Hematopoietic Growth Factors

Hematopoietic growth factors are medicines that stimulate the production of both red and white blood cells. There are a number of hematopoietic growth hormone drugs approved by the FDA for myelodyplasia, including Vidaza, Dacogen, Revlimid and Oprelvekin.

Chemotherapy

When myelodysplasia is very severe, doctors employ chemotherapy to eliminate abnormal or cancerous blood cells. This treatment is most common when the cause of myelodysplasia is leukaemia or cancer of the bone marrow.

Transplants

Bone marrow transplants remove the damaged stem cells from myelodysplasia patients, replacing them with fully functioning cells. The procedure often cures the condition, but is usually only an option in children, due to high risks associated with adult transplants.

Antibiotics

Because patients with myelodysplasia often suffer from a shortage of infection-fighting white blood cells, doctors frequently utilise antibiotics in patients with bone marrow disorders.

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