Q:

What are the treatment options for polycythemia?

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Quick Answer

Although no cure exists for polycythemia, treatment options to control the disease include phlebotomy, radiation, medications such as hydroxyurea and blood thinners like aspirin, as reported by the National Institutes of Health. The goal of treatment is to reduce the number of red blood cells in the blood and to lower hemoglobin levels.

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Full Answer

Since polycythemia causes the blood to thicken due to excess red blood cell production, phlebotomy is used to remove some of the blood from the patient's system, usually 1 pint at a time. Medications like hydroxyurea prevent the patient's bone marrow from producing too many red blood cells. Aspirin thins the blood when taken daily for this purpose. The recommended dose is less than 100 mg per day, as stated by the National Cancer Institute.

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