Treatments

Essential thrombocythemia is not curable, and treatment cannot prevent it from progressing to a more severe stage. There is evidence that interventions early in the disease in people without symptoms affect the outcome or improve survival. Long-term complications of ET may include the development of acute leukemia in a small number of patients, and the development of fibrosis in the bone marrow, which is called postthrombocythemia myelofibrosis. Both conditions adversely affect the prognosis in patients with ET.

Studies have shown that patients older than 60 and those who have experienced previous complications are at significant risk for recurrent problems from this disorder. Reducing the platelet count by medications has been shown to reduce complications in these patients.

Various medications may be used to reduce platelets, including hydroxyurea, anagrelide, interferon and busulfan. Each medication is associated with its own side effects, and treatment needs to be tailored to each patient. No single treatment method works for all patients.

Aspirin may be appropriate for many ET patients for prevention of blood clots and treatment of other ET related symptoms. However, in patients with very high platelet counts, aspirin may lead to bleeding. Aspirin therapy, and all other therapy, should be discussed and directed by a health care provider familiar with the disease.

Individuals with essential thrombocythemia usually have a normal lifespan with proper medical treatment. However, if a stroke, heart attack, or other serious complication occurs, the individual may have disability.

HYDROXYUREA is a chemotherapy drug. It slows the growth of cancer cells. This medicine is used to treat certain leukemias, skin cancer, head and neck cancer, and advanced ovarian cancer. It is also used to control the painful crises of sickle cell anemia.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

ANAGRELIDE is used to lower platelet counts. This helps to prevent blood clots from forming. It also reduces the risk of problems like intestinal bleeding, stroke, and heart attack caused by having too many platelets.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

INTERFERON ALFA-2a (Roferon-A) helps the immune system fight viral infections such as chronic hepatitis C, and certain cancers like Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myelogenous leukemia, and hairy cell leukemia.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

Source:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/thrombocythemia/treatment.html
http://drugsaz.about.com/od/drugs/hydroxyurea.htm
http://drugsaz.about.com/od/drugs/anagrelide.htm
http://drugsaz.about.com/od/drugs/interferon-alfa-2a.htm

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