What are the guidelines for the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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An expert panel has released evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of SCD, including a strong recommendation that hydroxyurea and long-term, periodic blood transfusions should be used more often to treat patients. Other recommendations include the following [56, 57] :

  • Use of daily oral prophylactic penicillin up to age 5
  • Annual transcranial Doppler examinations between the ages of 2 and 16 years in patients with sickle cell anemia
  • Long-term transfusion therapy to prevent stroke in children with abnormal transcranial Doppler velocity (≥200 cm/s)
  • In patients with sickle cell anemia, preoperative transfusion therapy should be used to increase hemoglobin levels to 10 g/dL
  • Rapid initiation of opioids for the treatment of severe pain associated with a vasoocclusive crisis
  • Use of analgesics and physical therapy for the treatment of avascular necrosis

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