People with sickle cell disease (SCD) make hemoglobin S. This hemoglobin stretches out the red blood cells (also called “sickling”). Sickled red blood cells have trouble moving through the blood vessels and can cause pain and organ damage. Hydroxyurea helps people with SCD by increasing the amount of Hemoglobin F in the body. Hemoglobin F helps keep red blood cells from sickling, so it can prevent some problems caused by SCD.
Hydroxyurea has been studied for decades to see how it can help people with SCD. There are several benefits that have been discovered. These include:
Hydroxyurea has been used in patients with SCD for over 30 years. Research has shown that hydroxyurea is a safe and effective medication. People with SCD can start taking it as young as 9 months of age. If you have questions about hydroxyurea, please talk to your or your child’s hematologist.
Dr. Clark Kramer