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patient education

Hydroxyurea: A Treatment Option for Sickle Cell Disease

key information

source: Sickle Options

summary/abstract:

Hydroxyurea is a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer and blood diseases particularly in the conditions such as polycythemia vera (increased number of red blood cells), essential thrombocytosis (increased number of platelets) and sickle cell disease. It is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat sickle cell disease. It works by increasing the levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) in Red Blood Cells (RBC) which allows the RBCs to be more flexible and slippery and makes it harder for RBCs to form the sickle shape.

Hydroxyurea is available in pill and liquid form. It is usually available in pills of 200 mg, 300 mg, 400 mg and 500 mg dose strength under different brand names. Generic capsules of dose strength 250 mg and 500 mg of Hydroxyurea are also available in market. It is usually covered by insurance.

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