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Home » sickle cell » Hydroxyurea for Sickle Cell Disease: How to Use Hydroxyurea and Who Should Not Take It

Hydroxyurea for Sickle Cell Disease: How to Use Hydroxyurea and Who Should Not Take It

Hydroxyurea is a medication doctors prescribe to people living with sickle cell anemia to help them reduce the frequency of painful crises caused by the sickle cell disease (SCD) and also the need of blood transfusions. Hydroxyurea has other brands that are also used for treating certain types of cancer such as chronic myelogenous leukemia and squamous cell carcinomas.

How to use Hydroxyurea (Sickle Cell) Capsule

Make sure you read the hydroxyurea Medication Guide first before you begin taking the hydroxyurea if you get it from your pharmacist. Also and most importantly, read it every time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask and get answers from your healthcare providers or pharmacist.

Take your hydroxyurea medication orally with or without food and always as directed by your doctor, often once daily. Your weight, medical condition, lab results, and response to treatment have to correspond with the dosage you take. Your treatment may be discontinued for a short duration if your blood counts are too low. Always keep every medical and lab appointment record.

Don’t increase your dose or use hydroxyurea more often or longer than prescribed. Doing so won’t improve your condition faster. It will rather increase your risk of severe side effects.

If you’re taking the capsules, simple swallow them whole. Do not crush, chew, or open the capsules.

If you are taking the tablets, swallow them with a glass of water. But you can split a tablet if it has a score line and if your doctor instructed you to. If you have trouble swallowing, you may dissolve the tablet or split it in a small amount of water in a teaspoon before swallowing it right away.

Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the medicine or a hydroxyurea container. You and/or your caregiver have to wear disposable gloves while handling the medication or its container. In case the tablet or capsule powder spills, wipe it off with a wet paper towel and immediately discard it in a closed container. Now clean the spill spot right away with soap and water. Avoid inhaling the powder.

Considering that hydroxyurea can be absorbed via the skin and lungs, pregnant women and those who may get pregnant should avoid touching the medication or breathing in its tablet or capsule dust.

Who Should Not Take Hydroxyurea?

Here are contraindicated conditions with this drug. Before you take hydroxyurea, find out with your doctor if you have any of the following issues:

  • decreased blood platelets
  • low levels of a type of white blood cell known as neutrophils
  • inflammation of blood vessels in the skin
  • anemia because of depressed bone marrow
  • have a baby and are producing milk and are breastfeeding
  • pregnancy
  • redness of skin after radiation therapy
  • lung tissue problem
  • chronic kidney disease stage 3A (moderate)
  • chronic kidney disease stage 3B (moderate)
  • chronic kidney disease stage 4 (severe)
  • chronic kidney disease stage 5 (failure)

Discuss with your healthcare provider if you’ve taken hydroxyurea and your condition has gotten better or rather aggravated.


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