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Hydroxyurea may be underused for patients with sickle cell anemia

April 28, 2015

Less than a quarter of patients with sickle cell anemia and pain crises received hydroxyurea within 1 year of a third hospital or emergency department visit, despite the safety and availability of the therapy, according to study results.

“The recommendation from the 2014 NHLBI guidelines to treat all adults with sickle cell anemia and 3 or more moderate to severe pain crises within 1 year with hydroxyurea was rated strong based on high-quality evidence reviewed in 2008,” Nicolas Stettler, MD, MSCE, of The Lewin Group in Falls Church, Virginia, and colleagues wrote. “Despite benefits in reducing pain crises, hospitalizations, blood transfusions and possibly mortality, it is thought that hydroxyurea is underused, although the extent of its use is unknown.”

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