How does the treatment work?
Treatment for haemophilia works by replacing the clotting factor that you would normally have in your blood.
Blood clotting is very complicated. There is what is called a ‘clotting cascade’33 – when proteins in the blood are activated to stop bleeding. There are 13 of these proteins or clotting factors.
For a clot to form, the first clotting factor acts on the second, which acts on the next and so on – the ‘cascade’. A clot won’t form until all the steps in the cascade have completed.
In haemophilia, one of the proteins is missing or defficient. That’s why the blood doesn’t clot and you have bleeding. The gap in the clotting cascade is filled with factor replacement. If you have haemophilia A, you will be prescribed factor VIII (8). If you have haemophilia B, you will be prescribed factor IX (9).
The clotting factors get used up all the time, which is why you need to have treatment injections so often. You need to have your factor as an injection as it needs to be delivered directly into your blood.