Treatment for VWD

At specialist Haemophilia Centres or Services, there is a team of experts on treatment and care for people with bleeding disorders. The team includes specialist doctors, nurses, social workers/counsellors, physios and others. If you have VWD, they can help you to make a treatment plan and give all sorts of assistance and guidance on how to manage your VWD in all aspects of your life.

The recommended treatment for VWD can depend on the type of VWD a person has and how severe it is. Usually people with mild VWD will only need treatment if they have surgery, dental work or an accident or injury.

If you do need treatment, the doctor will work with you to see what treatment is the best in your current situation.

There are several treatments available:

  • Desmopressin (DDAVP) is a synthetic hormone. It works by releasing the body’s stored VWF and factor VIII into the bloodstream to help blood clot. Desmopressin can be given as a slow injection into a vein, but may also be given as an injection subcutaneously (into the fatty tissue under the skin), or in special circumstances as a nasal spray.
  • Clotting factor concentrate made with von Willebrand factor (VWF) and factor VIII (FVIII) replaces the missing VWF and FVIII in the blood and helps blood to clot. This clotting factor concentrate is made from the plasma (pale yellow fluid part) in human blood and is produced from blood donations. The treatment is infused (injected) into a vein in the arm.
  • Tranexamic acid and aminocaproic acid are medicines that stop blood clots being dissolved once they have formed. They can be used to stop bleeding in the mouth or nosebleeds, gut bleeding, bleeding after dental work, minor surgery or an injury. Most commonly they are taken as tablets, syrup or as a mouthwash.
  • Fibrin glue is a medical gel made from fibrinogen and thrombin, which are proteins in the body that help blood to clot. It can be applied directly onto a wound to stop bleeding.
  • Hormone treatment, such as oral contraceptives (birth control pills), can help women who have heavy menstrual bleeding. The hormones can increase VWF and factor VIII levels.

Date last reviewed: 21/06/2012