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Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency Treatment & Management

  • Author: Paul Schick, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
 
Updated: Apr 07, 2016
 

Approach Considerations

Most individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency do not need treatment. However, they should be taught to avoid drugs and chemicals that can cause oxidant stress. Patients should also avoid broad beans (ie, fava beans). Favism occurs primarily in the Mediterranean variety of G6PD deficiency.

Identification and discontinuation of the precipitating agent is critical to manage hemolysis in patients with G6PD deficiency. Anemia should be treated with appropriate measures, recognizing that hemolysis is self-limited and often resolves in 8 to 14 days. Transfusions are rarely indicated. Splenectomy is usually ineffective.

Infants with prolonged neonatal jaundice as a result of G6PD deficiency should receive phototherapy with a bili light (see Neonatal Jaundice). Exchange transfusion may be necessary in cases of severe neonatal jaundice or hemolytic anemia caused by favism. However, Samanta and colleagues found that in neonates with idiopathic hyperbilirubinemia, transfusion with G6PD-deficient blood was significantly less effective than transfusion with G6PD-normal blood.[27]

Patients with chronic hemolysis or non-spherocytic anemia should be placed on daily folic acid supplements. Consultations with a hematologist and a geneticist should be sought.

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Deterrence/Prevention

Patients with G6PD deficiency should avoid the following:

  • Oxidant drugs, such as the antimalarial drugs primaquine, chloroquine, pamaquine, and pentaquine
  • Nalidixic acid, ciprofloxacin, niridazole, norfloxacin, methylene blue, chloramphenicol, phenazopyridine, and vitamin K analogues
  • Sulfonamides, such as sulfanilamide, sulfamethoxypyridazine, sulfacetamide, sulfadimidine, sulfapyridine, sulfamerazine, and sulfamethoxazole
  •  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),nitrofurantoin, and phenazopyridine
  • Isobutyl nitrite, naphthalene (moth balls), phenylhydrazine, and acetanilide
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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Paul Schick, MD Emeritus Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University; Research Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine; Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Lankenau Hospital

Paul Schick, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Marcel E Conrad, MD Distinguished Professor of Medicine (Retired), University of South Alabama College of Medicine

Marcel E Conrad, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Blood Banks, American Chemical Society, American College of Physicians, American Physiological Society, American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Society of Hematology, Association of American Physicians, Association of Military Surgeons of the US, International Society of Hematology, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, SWOG

Disclosure: Partner received none from No financial interests for none.

Chief Editor

Emmanuel C Besa, MD Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

Emmanuel C Besa, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Education, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American College of Clinical Pharmacology, American Federation for Medical Research, American Society of Hematology, New York Academy of Sciences

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Karen Seiter, MD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Oncology/Hematology, New York Medical College

Karen Seiter, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research, American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Received honoraria from Novartis for speaking and teaching; Received consulting fee from Novartis for speaking and teaching; Received honoraria from Celgene for speaking and teaching.

Acknowledgements

Suzanne M Carter, MS Senior Genetic Counselor, Associate, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Genetics, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Suzanne M Carter, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American Bar Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. Susan J Gross, MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, FACMG Codirector, Division of Reproduction Genetics, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Susan J Gross, MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, FACMG is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Medical Genetics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, American Medical Association, American Society of Human Genetics, and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Heinz bodies in a peripheral smear stained with a supravital stain. Heinz bodies are denatured hemoglobin. Denatured hemoglobin occurs in G6PD deficiencies and in unstable hemoglobin disorders.
 
 
 
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