Treatment and medications: Key points

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  • A number of treatments and medications are available for sickle cell disease, including red blood cell transfusions, sickle cell transplants, and various over-the-counter and prescribed medications.
  • Your teen should always take their medications exactly how their doctor or nurse practitioner prescribes them.
  • One class of prescription pain relief medicines are opioids. These are strong medicines that must be taken as directed under close supervision. Over long periods of time, daily use can create a risk of physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction.
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the use of natural health products or treatments alongside typical pharmacological treatments. There is not enough evidence to definitely recommend them to treat sickle cell disease.
  • Your teen should always tell their doctor or nurse practitioner about all medications, natural products, or recreational drugs they are taking and whether they would like to stop or change any medications. This way your teen can minimize any side effects and harmful drug interactions.
Last updated: August 10th 2017