How is VWD treated?

There are effective treatments for all types of VWD. Treatment choice is based on VWD type, the nature and severity of bleeding, the site of bleeding and will involve the patient, their family and the health care team.

Small bleeds such as nosebleeds or bruising will often not require any treatment. For most people with VWD treatment is only needed during surgery or after trauma.

You should seek advice on the most appropriate treatment to use from a centre that specialises in bleeding disorders.

Desmopressin stimulates the release of stored clotting factors and is often used to treat type 1 and some type 2 VWD patients. It raises VWF levels to help blood clotting. Desmopressin is often used to control bleeding during surgery or after trauma, and is not suitable for all patients.

VWF-containing concentrates are used when desmopressin is ineffective or not indicated. These concentrates replace the VWF that is missing or does not work properly to help control bleeding. People with certain types of VWD or people with severe bleeding symptoms are most likely to use VWF-containing concentrates.

Antifibrinolytic medications such as tranexamic acid and aminocaproic acid slow the breakdown of blood clots.

Fibrin glue can be used to seal a bleeding site and can be useful after a tooth extraction.

For women with menorrhagia, contraception such as an intrauterine device can sometimes reduce menstrual bleeding.