Additional treatments

Several types of drugs can be given to address common problems. There are a number of different treatments used in addition to the principal drugs used to treat myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNS). Your haematologist may prescribe additional treatments to prevent or control side effects. If you have myelofibrosis  (MF) you may be prescribed additional medications. You…

Bone marrow transplant

For some myelofibrosis (MF) patients whose disease symptoms and quality of life deteriorate, even with the current range of drug therapies and treatments available, a stem cell or bone marrow transplant (BMT) may be considered. Watch the video where Chris shares his experience of a bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell transplant (SCT).…

Venesection (phlebotomy)

Taking blood – called venesection or phlebotomy in medical language – reduces red blood cell counts in people with polycythaemia vera (PV).  It has very few risks. If you have polycythaemia vera (PV) you have too many red blood cells. One way to reduce your red cell count that does not require any medication at…

Thalidomide

Thalidomide can be taken alone or combined with steroids to treat myelofibrosis (MF). Why take this drug? Thalidomide combined with steroids can occasionally help with anaemia, low platelet counts and sometimes enlarged spleen, and can be very effective in some patients. There is evidence to suggest that in some patients with early MF, thalidomide may…

Ruxolitinib

Ruxolitinib is a medication used to treat myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). It is licensed for the treatment of patients with myelofibrosis (MF) either primary or occurring after polycythaemia vera (PV) or essential thrombocythaemia (ET). It is under investigation in clinical trials for patients with PV and ET.  Ruxolitinib was approved by NICE in October 2023 for…

Melphalan, busulfan and P32

These drugs may help where other medications do not. Melphalan, or radioactive phosphorous (also called P32) were common therapies used in the past to treat myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNS). Why are these drugs no longer commonly used? Melphalan, or radioactive phosphorous can cause infertility and can damage the bone marrow.  These drugs are also known to…

Interferon alpha

Interferons are protein based drugs that can be used to treat MPNs. Interferons occur naturally in our bodies and help us to fight infection. They can also be given as medications and are used to treat many types of disorders. Interferons are used to treat all three main types of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs): polycythaemia vera…

Hydroxycarbamide

This drug lowers the number of blood cells produced by your bone marrow. Hydroxycarbamide (formerly known as hydroxyurea) goes under the brand name Hydrea® and is a very common treatment for all myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Hydroxycarbamide comes as a capsule and is taken orally. Most people who take the drug in low doses find that…

Cytarabine

Your haematologist can advise if this drug is suitable for you. Low-dose cytarabine is sometimes prescribed to treat myelofibrosis (MF). It is given by injection twice a day or sometimes by infusion. Sometimes this drug needs to be given in hospital. This drug interferes with the production of cells in the bone marrow. Your haematologist…

Aspirin

Low-dose aspirin, an anti-platelet drug, is an excellent choice for many. Aspirin is classed as a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug. This means that it reduces inflammation but does not contain steroids. Aspirin is a drug that is very familiar to most people. It’s a medication that most of us have taken at one time or…