The first therapy tried is usually a steroid medication, such as prednisone. If steroid medications do not improve the condition, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be considered.
Therapy to suppress the immune system is usually given if the person does not respond to steroids and splenectomy. Medications such as azathioprine (Imuran), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), and rituximab (Rituxan) have been used.
Blood transfusions are given with caution, because of the potential that blood may not be compatible and may cause further hemolysis.
Adults may have long-term disease that keeps returning. In children the anemia is usually short-lived.
Infection (as a complication of treatment)
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of anemia.
There is no known prevention for idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia, because the cause is unknown.
Powers A, Silberstein LE. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 47.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.