How is anemia of chronic disease treated?

How is anemia of chronic disease treated?

The anemia associated with anemia of chronic disease is usually mild. Treating the underlying disease that is causing the anemia is the first step to treating most forms of anemia of chronic disease. In many cases, treating these diseases will resolve the anemia and its symptoms. This strategy may not work for anemia caused by cancer and chronic kidney disease, however. Other treatment options may be necessary.

Blood transfusions may be used when the anemia is especially severe (hemoglobin < 8.0 g/dL). Transfusions are not used as a long-term therapy because of risks—such as iron overload and potential immune system side effects—that may increase the risk of getting an infection.

A synthetic form of EPO may be given by subcutaneous (under the skin) shots if EPO levels are reduced. You may also receive supplemental iron therapy if EPO is used as a treatment. If you are receiving EPO therapy, your hemoglobin levels will be checked every few weeks to see if it is helping. Usually, therapy is adjusted so that your hemoglobin levels fall in the 11-12 g/dL range.

There are also experimental treatments being studied.