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Your child may not need any treatment for von Willebrand disease, unless he has problems with excess bleeding. If your child does need treatment, the common options are medicine, clotting factor and blood transfusion.

Medicine for Von Willebrand Disease

A medicine called desmopressin (brand name Stimate), which doctors can give before any planned surgery or dental work, can help with clotting. You can get this medicine in a form that you spray into your child's nose when he needs it, or we can give it through a vein, intravenous (IV).

Desmopressin does not work well in all patients, so your doctor may give your child a test dose to see if it increases his levels of von Willebrand factor enough to be helpful.

Clotting Factor

A combination of von Willebrand factor and Factor VIII purified from donor plasma can be given for patients who do not have a good response to desmopressin or who need major surgical procedures.

Blood Transfusions

If your child has a lot of bleeding because of von Willebrand disease, we made need to give a blood transfusion.

Transfusing blood is the process of giving whole blood or only red blood cells from a donor to a patient using an intravenous (IV) line.

Other Aspects of Care

If your child needs extensive dental work or surgery, we will help create a treatment plan so that it can be done safely.

To help prevent excess bleeding, your child may need to take care to avoid trauma. For example, the doctor may advise that your child avoid certain contact sports.

Girls who have very heavy menstrual periods because of von Willebrand's disease may need to consider taking birth control pills to decrease the buildup of the lining of the uterus. Some girls prefer to use the desmopressin nasal spray on the heaviest days of their period to decrease bleeding.

Some medicines, such as aspirin, can promote bleeding. So your child will need to avoid them. Your child's doctor can give you details about which medicines to stay away from.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

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Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

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