Seven sickle cell disease (SCD) patients [sickle cell anaemia = 4 (males 2, females 2, age range 18-40 years), and sickle cell β°-thalassaemia = 3 (all females, age range 20-47 years)], suffering from a severe form of the disease were enrolled in a treatment protocol using hydroxyurea (HU) for up to 12 months followed by a combination therapy with HU and human recombinant erythropoietin (rHuEpo; using 400 U/kg/week i.v.) for 3-4 weeks. Following the withdrawal of rHuEpo the patients were maintained on HU alone. The patients were characterised on the basis of the ‘severity index’ prior to the initiation of the therapy. Haematological and relevant biochemical parameters, Hb A2 fetal haemoglobin (HbF), HbF cells, reticulocytes and platelet counts were estimated at least at three occasions to determine the mean and range of the parameters. During the treatment period the patients were followed every 2-4 weeks where the haematological and biochemical parameters were assessed. The results were separately analysed and mean ± SD were obtained for each parameter at the end of each protocol. The statistical significance of the difference in the results obtained on treatment and the baseline results was examined using the paired t test. No toxic side effects of HU and rHuEpo (as judged from reduction in platelet and white blood cell count) were documented during and after the whole period of treatment. The patients showed a significant clinical improvement. Total haemoglobin, haematocrit, red cell count, HbF and HbF cells increased, while white blood cells, reticulocyte counts and bilimbin level decreased. Platelet count decreased but remained within the normal range. The results revealed that 5 of the patients on HU treatment showed a significant increase in the HbF level and HbF cells, while 2 patients (1 sickle cell anaemia and 1 Hb S/β°-thalassaemia patient) did not and were considered as ‘non-responders’. The rHuEpo and HU combination therapy elevated the HbF level, with a varying degree, in all patients except 2, who had already reached a high HbF level and showed a decrease in HbF during the rHuEpo protocol. Variable individual response to both HU and rHuEpo therapy was a common feature. We recommend the use of HU for the treatment of SCD and a combination therapy using HU and rHuEpo for the non-responders.

Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.