There is no cure for polycythemia vera. Treatment focuses on reducing your risk of complications. These treatments may also ease your symptoms. Blood withdrawalsThe most common treatment for polychythemia vera is having frequent blood withdrawals, using a needle in a vein (phlebotomy). It's the same procedure used for donating blood. This decreases your blood volume and reduces the number of excess blood cells. How often you need to have blood drawn depends on the severity of your condition. Treatments to reduce itchingIf you have bothersome itching, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as antihistamines, or recommend ultraviolet light treatment to relieve your discomfort. Medications that are normally used to treat depression, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), helped relieve itching in clinical trials. Examples of SSRIs include paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva, others) or fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra, others). Drugs that reduce the number of red blood cellsIf phlebotomy alone doesn't help enough, your doctor may suggest medications that can reduce the number of red blood cells in your bloodstream. Examples include:
Hydroxyruea (Droxia, Hydrea)
Interferon alfa-2b (Intron A)
Busulfan (Busulfex, Myleran)
What is PV? What are the Symptoms?
Definition: Polycythemia vera (pol-e-sy-THEE-me-uh VEER-uh) is a type of blood cancer. It causes your bone marrow to make too many red blood cells. These excess cells thicken your blood, slowing its flow, which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots. Polycythemia vera is rare. It usually develops slowly, and you might have it for years without knowing. Often the condition is found during a blood test done for another reason. Without treatment, polycythemia vera can be life-threatening. But proper medical care can help ease signs, symptoms and complications of this disease.
Symptoms: Many people with polycythemia vera don't have noticeable signs or symptoms. Some people might develop vague symptoms such as headache, dizziness, fatigue and blurred vision. More-specific symptoms of polycythemia vera include:
Itchiness, especially after a warm bath or shower
Numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in your hands, feet, arms or legs
A feeling of fullness soon after eating and bloating or pain in your left upper abdomen due to an enlarged spleen
Unusual bleeding, such as a nosebleed or bleeding gums
Painful swelling of one joint, often the big toe
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing when lying down