How is ET treated?

MPN treatments are generally aimed at managing symptoms and reducing complications of the disease, such as heart attacks and strokes, so that your quality of life is better.

My primary objective in considering a new treatment option for a patient
is how appropriate it is to the individual’s circumstance.

– Professor Claire Harrison


If you have no symptoms when you are first diagnosed, a ‘watch and wait’ approach may be recommended if your platelet counts are at an acceptable level and if you are not in any other high-risk groups for developing blood clots. Other than anti-platelet therapy many people with ET don’t need treatment for many years, but eventually most do need some kind of further treatment.


Your treatment plan will depend on your own unique situation and take into account the symptoms you are experiencing as well as any lifestyle risk factors like high blood pressure and whether or not you smoke.


There are a number of medications available as well as a rarely used procedure called plateletpheresis – a method of collecting platelets from your blood. Plateletpheresis is usually carried out in hospital and takes about two hours to complete. It is rarely used and only then when your platelet count needs to be reduced quickly to prevent further complications such as heart attacks or strokes.


People with an MPN should not smoke and should exercise
to maintain their general fitness and improve their vitality and cardiovascular
performance – this also reduces their increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

– Professor Claire Harrison