A team of international researchers have found a new way to treat sickle cell patients in sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers learned that increasing the dose of hydroxyurea, a medication that prevents sickling of the red cells, is more effective than and has similar side effects as a lower, fixed dose of the drug. The study was done in Uganda.
The study involved 187 children with sickle cell anemia, half of whom received a fixed dose of 20mg/kg of body weight per day of hydroxyurea and the other half received an increasing dose, which started at 25 mg/kg of body weight per day and increased up to 35mg/kg of body weight per day. Doctors evaluated all the children for clinical and laboratory changes, as well as side effects.
Findings from the study showed clearly that strategically increasing the dose of hydroxyurea is far better simply giving a fixed dose. This exciting development should help throngs of sickle cell suffers in Africa.