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Treatment of Polycythemia Vera

Although there is currently no known cure for PV, there are treatments that can help alleviate patient symptoms and complications while prolonging the patient's life span. Therapeutic phlebotomy can be used to temporarily decrease the red cell count and corresponding hemoglobin and hematocrit. The goal is to keep the hematocrit under 45%. Therapeutic phlebotomy causes an increased risk for iron deficiency anemia as, over time, approximately 250 mg of iron is lost with each unit of blood removed from the patient.
Other treatment options include chemotherapy and radiation. These are used to control the over-proliferation of cell populations in the bone marrow.

Since thrombotic episodes are a serious risk for patients with PV, antiplatelet medications are typically administered.