People with severe thalassemia
receive regular blood transfusions and folate supplements. People who receive the blood transfusions should avoid iron supplements
and oxidative drugs such as sulfonamides, because iron levels in their bodies can become toxic. Patients who receive significant numbers of blood transfusions require treatment to remove iron from the body .Bone marrow transplant
are being investigated as a treatment, and are most successful in children.
In severe thalassemia, death from heart failure can occur between the ages of 20 and 30. Hyper transfusion programs or frequent transfusions with chelation therapy
improve outcome. Successful bone marrow transplant is curative. Less severe forms of thalassemia usually do not shorten life span. Untreated, thalassemia major
leads to heart failure and liver problems, as well as susceptibility to infection.
Iron overload as a side effect of treatment can cause damage to the heart, liver, and endocrine systems. This complication is managed by daily injections of an iron chelating agent, which binds to iron and causes it to be released from the body in the urine.