Aplastic anemia is a rare life-threatening bone marrow failure that is characterized by bicytopenia or pancytopenia in the peripheral blood and a hypoplastic or aplastic bone marrow. The patients are at risk of infection and hemorrhage due to neutropenia and thrombocytopenia and suffer from symptoms of anemia. The main treatment approaches are allogeneic stem cell transplantation and immunosuppression. Here, we review current standard immunosuppression and the attempts that have been made in the past two decades to improve results: review of recent developments also reveals that sometimes not only the advent of new drugs, good ideas and well-designed clinical trials decide the progress in the field but also marketing considerations of pharmaceutical companies. Aplastic anemia experts unfortunately had to face the situation that efficient drugs were withdrawn simply for marketing considerations. We will discuss the current options and challenges in first-line treatment and management of relapsing and refractory patients with an emphasis on adult patients. Some promising new approaches are currently under investigation in prospective, randomized trials.