Acquired von Willebrand's disease

Acquired von Willebrand's disease is a rare bleeding disorder that tends to occur in older adults. It prevents blood from clotting properly. It is rarer than the inherited form of von Willebrand's disease.

Researchers believe acquired von Willebrand's disease may be caused by an autoimmune disorder, in which the body's own immune system attacks the blood system. Exactly what triggers acquired von Willebrand's disease is not known. A genetic factor may increase the risk of developing it.

Testing often reveals that people who have acquired von Willebrand's disease also have one of the following conditions:

Acquired von Willebrand's disease may also develop in direct association with use of certain medicines. When use is discontinued, signs of the disease also end. These medicines include:

  • Ciprofloxacin.
  • Valproic acid.
  • Griseofulvin.

Symptoms include nosebleeds with no previous history of bleeding abnormalities.

Acquired von Willebrand's disease can be treated with medicine that increases the amount of von Willebrand clotting factor in the blood. Successful treatment can stop the recurrence of symptoms, such as nosebleeds.

Last Updated: November 24, 2008

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