The goals of hemochromatosis treatment are to reduce the amount of iron in the body and maintain it at near normal concentrations, to minimize permanent organ damage, and to address complications. If a person has secondary hemochromatosis, then treatment should also address the underlying disorder or condition.
Treatment of hemochromatosis usually consists of withdrawing a pint of blood at frequent intervals to reduce body iron stores and then at periodic intervals. The frequency and length of treatment depend on the cause and degree of iron overload. There is no cure for hereditary hemochromatosis, but it can be successfully managed over a person's lifetime. Someone who has secondary hemochromatosis may not require long-term blood removal treatment if their underlying condition can be resolved.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of blood from hemochromatosis patients as donor blood. For a list of locations where hemochromatosis patients can go to donate their blood, visit the American Hemochromatosis Society's web page on this subject.
An oral medication that binds excess iron and promotes its excretion is also available. Its role in hemochromatosis is not yet clear, and the present recommendations are to use phlebotomy as the treatment of choice.