Hemophilia and von Willebrand's disease: 2. Management. Association of Hemophilia Clinic Directors of Canada

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Canadian Medical Association Journal: CMAJ 1995 July 15, 153 (2): 147-57

OBJECTIVE: To present current strategies for the treatment of hemophilia and von Willebrand's disease.

OPTIONS: Prophylactic and corrective therapy with hemostatic and adjunctive agents: DDAVP (1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin [desmopressin acetate]), recombinant coagulation products (human Factor VIII and human Factor VIIa) or virally inactivated plasma-derived products (high- or ultra-high-purity human Factor VIII or human Factor VIII concentrate containing von Willebrand factor activity, porcine Factor VIII, high-purity human Factor IX, human prothrombin-complex concentrate, human activated prothrombin-complex concentrate), adjunctive antifibrinolytic agents, topical thrombin and fibrin sealant. The induction of immune tolerance in patients in whom inhibitors develop should also be considered.

OUTCOMES: Morbidity and quality of life associated with bleeding and treatment.

EVIDENCE: Relevant clinical studies and reports published from 1974 to 1994 were examined. A search was conducted of our reprint files, MEDLINE, citations in the articles reviewed and references provided by colleagues. In the MEDLINE search the following terms were used singly or in combination: "hemophilia," "von Willebrand's disease," "Factor VIII," "Factor IX," "von Willebrand factor," "diagnosis," "management," "home care," "comprehensive care," "inhibitor," "AIDS," "hepatitis," "life expectancy," "complications," "practice guidelines," "consensus statement" and "controlled trial." The in-depth review included only articles written in English from North America and Europe that were relevant to human disease and pertinent to a predetermined outline. The availability of treatment products in Canada was also considered.

VALUES: Minimizing morbidity and maximizing functional status and quality of life were given a high value.

BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: Proper prophylactic or early treatment with appropriate hemostatic agents minimizes morbidity and functional disability and improves quality of life. Economic gains are realized through the reduction of mortality and morbidity and their associated costs. The patient has a better opportunity to contribute to society through gainful employment and the fulfillment of social roles. Potential harms include HIV infection, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the development of inhibitor antibodies to clotting-factor concentrates. The risk of viral transmission has been minimized through the development of procedures for the viral inactivation of plasma-derived clotting-factor concentrates and through the use of recombinant coagulation-factor concentrates and other non-plasma-derived hemostatic agents.

RECOMMENDATIONS: DDAVP is the drug of choice for patients with mild hemophilia or type 1 or 2 (except 2B) von Willebrand's disease whose response to DDAVP in previous testing has been found to be adequate. Therapeutic blood components of choice include recombinant products and virally inactivated plasma-derived products. In Canada the recommended products are recombinant Factor VIII for hemophilia A, high-purity plasma-derived Factor IX for hemophilia B and plasma-derived Factor VIII concentrates containing adequate von Willebrand factor (e.g., Haemate P) for von Willebrand's disease. Dosages vary according to specific indications. Adjunctive antifibrinolytic agents, topical thrombin and fibrin sealant are useful for the treatment of oral or dental bleeds and localized bleeds in accessible sites. In patients with inhibitor antibodies, high-dose human or porcine Factor VIII is usually effective when the inhibitor titre is less than 5 Bethesda units/mL. In nonresponsive patients, or in those whose inhibitor titre is higher, "bypassing" agents (e.g., activated prothrombin-complex concentrate and recombinant Factor VIIa) are useful. Long-term management may include immune-tolerance induction.

VALIDATION: These recommendations were reviewed and approved by the Association of Hemophilia Clinic Directors of Canada (AHCDC) and the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Canadian Hemophilia Society. No similar consensus statements or practice guidelines are available for comparison.

SPONSORS: These recommendations were developed at the request of the Canadian Blood Agency, which funds the provision of all coagulation-factor concentrates for people with congenital bleeding disorders, and were developed and endorsed by the AHCDC and the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Canadian Hemophilia Society.

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