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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 189-193

The use of hydroxycarbamide in children with sickle cell anemia

Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Unit, Department Of Paediatrics, Ahmadu Bello University/Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hafsat Rufai Ahmad
Department of Paediatrics, Paediatrics Haematology/Oncology Unit, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria
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DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_29_18

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Background: Although hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea [HU]) has been in use for decades in both adults and child populations with sickle cell disease (SCD), its reported use has remained low in Africa and Nigeria where the largest number of SCD patients reside. Availability, cost, and concerns about safety and efficacy are some of the challenges to its use. Objectives: This study highlights the experience of using HU for children with sickle cell anemia in Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria. Materials and Methods: A descriptive, retrospective observational study of children is presented. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory features of children on HU, the indications for therapy and adverse clinical events encountered were analyzed. Results: A total of 165 children were treated with HU over a 4-year period, their ages ranging between 0.9 and 17 years. A total of 85 (47.5%) had HU for >12 months, while 61 (34.1%) were on treatment <11 months, while 19 (10.2%) were lost to follow-up. There was a significant increase in the weight, height, fetal hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, and a significant reduction in white cell counts; with no differences in the packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, creatinine, alanine transaminase, and bilirubin levels. Adverse events and/or comorbidities were reported in 48 (56.5%) patients, while one patient discontinued treatment because of skin rash. Conclusion: This study highlights the increased utilization of HU among children in an African region, the observed clinical events, and laboratory parameters. The benefits are demonstrable, and the drug-related organ toxicities appear minimal.

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