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Bernard-Soulier Syndrome Medication

  • Author: John D Geil, MD; Chief Editor: Hassan M Yaish, MD  more...
Updated: May 03, 2016

Medication Summary

In general, no medications are needed in Bernard-Soulier syndrome (BSS). Antifibrinolytic agents (eg, ε-aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid) may be useful for mucosal bleeding. For surgery or life-threatening hemorrhage, platelet transfusion is the only available therapy.

Desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) has been shown to shorten the bleeding time in some, but not all, patients with BSS. Recombinant activated factor VII has also been used to treat congenital platelet disorders.



Class Summary

Fibrinolytic agents are used to enhance hemostasis when fibrinolysis contributes to bleeding.

Aminocaproic acid (Amicar)


Aminocaproic acid inhibits fibrinolysis via inhibition of plasminogen activator substances and, to a lesser degree, through antiplasmin activity. The main problems are that the thrombi forming during treatment are not lysed and that effectiveness is uncertain.

Tranexamic acid (Cyklokapron)


Tranexamic acid is an alternative to aminocaproic acid. It inhibits fibrinolysis by inhibiting plasminogen activators.


Vasopressin Related

Class Summary

Desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) stimulates factor VIII, prostaglandins, and plasminogen release, but the mechanism of action is not clear and may not be common to all 3 substances. This agent exerts an effect on vessel walls that produces an increase in platelet adhesion. This local hemostatic action may account for its hemostatic properties.

Desmopressin acetate (DDAVP, Stimate)


DDAVP is used to decrease bleeding time in some, but not all, patients with BSS. It may be useful for minor bleeding episodes. The exact mechanism is unknown but may involve increased levels of vWF binding to some residual glycoprotein Ib in patients without an absolute deficiency.



Class Summary

Hemostasis is the physiologic response to bleeding. Injury and factors released by platelets initiates the coagulation cascade, which is mediated by blood clotting factors. This results in formation of an insoluble fibrin clot, thus reinforcing the initial platelet plug. Clotting factors (ie, antihemophilic factor [factor VIII], factor VII, or factor IX) function as cofactors in the blood coagulation cascade.

Factor VIIa, Recombinant (NovoSeven)


Recombinant factor VIIa is a vitamin K-dependent glycoprotein indicated for the treatment of bleeding episodes in patients with hemophilia A or B and inhibitors. It promotes hemostasis by activating the extrinsic pathway of the coagulation cascade, forming complexes with tissue factor, and promoting activation of factor X to factor Xa, factor IX to factor IXa, and factor II to factor IIa.

Experience with the use of recombinant factor VIIa is limited in patients with congenital platelet disorders. Safety and efficacy are still being evaluated.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

John D Geil, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital

John D Geil, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, Society for Neuro-Oncology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Hassan M Yaish, MD Medical Director, Intermountain Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Treatment Center; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Director of Hematology, Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, Department of Pediatrics, Primary Children's Medical Center

Hassan M Yaish, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, New York Academy of Sciences, American Medical Association, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Michigan State Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Gary D Crouch, MD Associate Professor, Program Director of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship, Department of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Gary D Crouch, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics and American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Peripheral smear of patient with Bernard-Soulier syndrome (BSS) showing giant platelets. These platelets are not counted as platelets in most particle counters.
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