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Introduction: People with sickle cell anemia (SCA) may require frequent blood transfusions to treat acute and chronic complications. Hydroxyurea is a life-saving treatment for SCA that could also decrease the need for blood transfusions. Inadequate medication access and challenges in dose optimization limit the widespread use of hydroxyurea in Africa. If feasible, pharmacokinetic (PK) dosing might improve dose determination to minimize toxicities and maximize clinical benefits. The Alternative Dosing And Prevention of Transfusions (ADAPT, NCT05662098) trial will analyze the impact of hydroxyurea on transfusion rate and serve as a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of PK-guided hydroxyurea dosing in Uganda. Methods: Herein we describe the rationale and design of ADAPT, a prospective cohort study of ~100 children with SCA in Jinja, Uganda. The primary hypothesis is that hydroxyurea will decrease blood transfusion use by ≥50%, comparing the transfusion incidence rate ratio between a 3-month pre-treatment and a 12-month treatment period. A key secondary hypothesis is that our PK-dosing approach will generate a suitable hydroxyurea dose for ≥80% of participants. Every ADAPT participant will undergo hydroxyurea PK testing, and if a dose is generated within 15-35 mg/kg/day participants will start on their individualized dose. If not, they will start on a default dose of 20 mg/kg/day. Hydroxyurea dose optimization will occur with periodic dose adjustments. Conclusion: Overall, demonstrating the reduction in blood transfusion utilization with hydroxyurea treatment would provide leverage to increase hydroxyurea access, and PK-guided hydroxyurea dosing should optimize the safe and effective treatment of SCA across sub-Saharan Africa.

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