Treatment for Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD)

Treatment for Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD)


The treatments for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) depend on which part of the body is affected and how severe the symptoms are.

When chronic GVHD goes untreated, it is associated with an increased risk of dying from transplant complications. It’s also linked to significant health problems and a lower quality of life.

With ongoing surveillance and a multidisciplinary team of experts who know how to manage this disorder, the problems linked to chronic GVHD usually go away. It may take up to five years. Most people remain in treatment between two and three years.  

For GVHD, you may receive:

  • treatment with oral or IV steroids
  • treatment with ibrutinib (Imbruvica®), a drug that affects your immune cells
  • treatment with steroid creams
  • treatment for open wounds
  • diuretics (drugs to treat fluid buildup)
  • vitamin K
  • drugs to help balance liver enzymes
  • drugs to prevent nausea
  • drugs to treat loss of appetite
  • drugs to treat diarrhea
  • light therapy
  • physical therapy

As part of your care, we will regularly assess your quality of life to determine which therapies may be needed. You may also have the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial for treatment of GVHD.