More use sought for sickle-cell drug

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 17, 2008

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Hydroxyurea should be more widely used by adolescents and adults with sickle-cell disease, concluded an independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health. The panel released its finding Feb. 27 after two days of hearings.

Although hydroxyurea was approved in 1998 by the Food and Drug Administration for use in adults with sickle-cell disease, concerns about the treatment has slowed its adoption. But research has shown patients on the drug experience fewer pain crises and hospital admissions.

Because there is less research on the safety and effectiveness of the medication for children, the panel decided not to recommend its use for younger patients at this time.

In the United States, this inherited blood disorder affects 50,000 to 100,000 people, most commonly African-Americans.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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