Hydroxyurea treatment of sickle cell anemia in hospital-based practices

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In a published randomized clinical trial, hydroxyurea (HU) Improved clinical outcomes In patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA). The mean treatment duration of that trial was 21 months. Here we attempt to determine whether the benefits associated with HU therapy of SCA have led also to successful patient acceptance of HU treatment in community practices, and whether successful clinical outcomes persist beyond 2 years. This is an observational retrospective chart study of the computerized medical records of 60 men and women with SCA who had HU treatment for at least 3 months and who were treated at teaching hospital subspecialty clinics in Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Thirty had remained on therapy for at least 24 months. Admissions declined in this group by 30% (P = 0.04). Declines were seen also in transfusion requirements (-58%, P = 0.07). In 17 of these 30 patients, at least 48 months of follow-up records were available. Fourteen of these remained on therapy the entire period, with similar and sustained reductions in admissions and transfusions. We conclude that hydroxyurea therapy of SCA applied in community settings leads to declining admissions and transfusion rates in many individuals for 4 years or more. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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