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Hydroxyurea Uses

hydroxyurea uses

Descriptions

Hydroxyurea is used to treat cancer of the white blood cells called chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It may also be given together with radiation treatment for head and neck cancer (advanced squamous cell cancer). Hydroxyurea interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed by the body.

Hydroxyurea is used in adult patients with sickle cell anemia to prevent painful episodes and reduce the need for blood transfusions. It works by making the red blood cells more flexible.

WHAT IS HYDROXYUREA (DROXIA, HYDREA)?

Hydroxyurea affects certain cells in the body, such as cancer cells or sickled red blood cells.

Hydroxyurea is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia, ovarian cancer, and certain types of skin cancer (squamous cell cancer of the head and neck) 

Hydroxyurea is also used to reduce pain episodes and the need for blood transfusions in people with sickle cell anemia. Hydroxyurea will not cure sickle cell anemia.

Hydroxyurea may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Uses

This medication is used by people with sickle cell anemia to reduce the number of painful crises caused by the disease and to reduce the need for blood transfusions. Some brands are also used to treat certain types of cancer (such as chronic myelogenous leukemia, squamous cell carcinomas).

How Hydroxyurea Works:

Cancerous tumors are characterized by cell division, which is no longer controlled as it is in normal tissue.   "Normal" cells stop dividing when they come into contact with like cells, a mechanism known as contact inhibition.  Cancerous cells lose this ability.  Cancer cells no longer have the normal checks and balances in place that control and limit cell division.  The process of cell division, whether normal or cancerous cells, is through the cell cycle.  The cell cycle goes from the resting phase, through active growing phases, and then to mitosis (division).

The ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells depends on its ability to halt cell division.  Usually, the drugs work by damaging the RNA or DNA that tells the cell how to copy itself in division.  If the cells are unable to divide, they die.  The faster the cells are dividing, the more likely it is that chemotherapy will kill the cells, causing the tumor to shrink.  They also induce cell suicide (self-death or apoptosis).

Side Effects

Common Side Effects of Hydroxyurea

Tell your doctor if any of the following symptoms become severe or don't go away:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Sores in the mouth or throat
  • Pale skin
  • Rash
  • Mild dizziness
  • Headache
  • Hair loss
  • Darkening of the skin or nails
  • Serious Side Effects of Hydroxyurea

What is the dosage for hydroxyurea-oral?

For treating cancer: Dose should be titrated based on individual patient response. Capsules should be swallowed whole. Hydroxyurea capsules should be handled with extreme care and disposed of properly because it causes cell damage.

How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Hydroxyurea belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics, and specifically to the group of antineoplastics known as antimetabolites. Hydroxyurea fights cancer by preventing the growth of cancer cells, which eventually results in their destruction. It is usually used to treat certain types of cancers of the skin on the head and neck (excluding the lip) known as squamous cell carcinomas.

Precautions

Before taking hydroxyurea, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, blood/bone marrow disorders (such as bone marrow suppression, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia), HIV infection, high uric acid level in the blood, radiation treatment.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.Information last revised June 2018. Copyright(c) 2018 First Databank, Inc.

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