Although there are currently no medications that can completely cure an MPD, there are many treatment options available to you.
The kind of medication that you need depends on which MPD you have, your general health and your personal situation. Some people with mild MPDs may only need minimal medication, while others will need treatments to reduce risks. People who have myelofibrosis have a number of options, including entering a drug trial.
Read up about your MPD and review your test results carefully. Ask your haematologist for help in understanding your condition, and use our Treatments section as a resource.
Your doctor will recommend a treatment plan and may offer several alternatives.
Your objectives can change at different times in your life. You can reassess your situation from time to time and consider if you need a change in plan, for instance during pregnancy, after having a child, after experiencing long-term side effects of medication or after undergoing a change in health. Learn more about adjusting to new situations in our Living with MPDs section.
People with MPDs are at higher risk of clotting and bleeding events than the general population – but your own individual level of risk may be low, medium or high depending on your age, type of MPD and overall health. The best treatment choice for a person at low risk of clots may be different than that for a person at higher risk. You may be concerned about the long-term risks and side effects of taking a particular medication, but this concern should be balanced by the need to protect your health in the medium term. Your haematologist can advise you on your risk level and which treatments are most appropriate for you.
It can take time to adjust to a medication and side effects can sometimes fade as your body adjusts. Be sure to inform your haematologist of any side effects you are experiencing so that he or she can suggest ways to reduce side effects. Conversely you may find that side effects increase over time – if new side effects occur or if you notice unfamiliar changes it is important to inform your doctor.
If you begin treatment with a new medication and find that the side effects are difficult to tolerate or if you are not comfortable with the medication, you can change your mind. Be sure to inform your doctor so that he or she can suggest alternatives.
No matter which conventional treatment your haematologist recommends, complementary therapies can a valuable part of your treatment plan. Therapies such as yoga, meditation and massage have all been proven in hospital studies to reduce stress, decrease fatigue and pain and increase well-being for patients. It’s not an either/or choice – complementary therapies can work well in combination with conventional therapies.
A good treatment plan is about more than medication. It includes getting exercise, eating right and managing stress.