Specific dosage of sickle cell drug increases survival rate

An analysis by National Institutes of Health researchers has shown that people with sickle cell anemia who took the drug hydroxyurea at the recommended dose had higher survival rates than those who took less than the recommended dose. The findings appear in the journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reviewed data from 383 people who came to NIH for treatment or evaluation for sickle cell anemia between 2001 and 2010. The study found that 66 percent of people were taking hydroxyurea. Of the group taking hydroxyurea, only two-thirds (or 44 percent of all patients) were using doses high enough to fall within the recommended range. People taking the recommended dose were 64 percent less likely to die from sickle cell anemia compared to those not taking hydroxyurea. This survival benefit was not observed in those taking less than the recommended dose of hydroxyurea. Hydroxyurea is the only FDA-approved drug to treat sickle cell anemia, a rare blood disorder.

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022