How is glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency treated?

Updated: Jun 25, 2020
  • Author: Lawrence C Wolfe, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Most individuals with G6PD deficiency do not require any treatment. Acute hemolytic anemia in G6PD-deficient patients is largely preventable by avoiding exposure to fava beans, drugs, and chemicals that can cause oxidant stress. Identification and discontinuation of the precipitating agent is critical in the management of hemolysis in patients with G6PD deficiency.

Anemia secondary to mild to moderate hemolysis in G6PD deficient patients is usually self-limited and often resolves in 8-14 days. Transfusion is rarely needed in cases of severe anemia.

Infants with prolonged neonatal jaundice as a result of G6PD deficiency should receive phototherapy. Exchange transfusion may be necessary in cases of severe neonatal jaundice or hemolytic anemia caused by favism.

Systematic assessment for the risk of severe hyperbilirubinemia should be performed before discharge in neonates in whom G6PD deficiency is suspected to provide early and focused follow-up to prevent bilirubin encephalopathy. [10, 11, 12]

Persons with chronic hemolysis or nonspherocytic anemia should be placed on daily folic acid supplements. Consultations with a hematologist are ideal for long-term follow up.


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