Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

News Briefs
Medication That Lessens Pain Cuts Sickle-Cell Death Rates

April 2, 2003

A drug typically associated with AIDS and cancer treatments also reduces the disabling pain of sickle cell anemia and can considerably lower death rates from the blood disorder, researchers say. Dr. Duane Bonds of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said most sickle-cell patients who need the drug, hydroxyurea, are not getting it. Bonds co-authored a government-funded study of adult sickle-cell patients and found that those who used hydroxyurea at least periodically were 40 percent less likely to die during the study than those who never used the drug. "Now there is new hope for these patients, who typically die 10-15 years earlier than patients with milder cases," said Dr. Claude Lenfant, the institute's director. The study covered 299 patients. About 72,000 Americans, most of them black, have the inherited blood disorder, which deprives organs and tissues of adequate blood supply and causes severe pain. The full report, "Effect of Hydroxyurea on Mortality and Morbidity in Adult Sickle Cell Anemia: Risks and Benefits Up to 9 Years of Treatment," appears in today's Journal of the American Medical Association (2003;289:1645-1651).

Back to other CDC news for April 2, 2003

Previous Updates

Excerpted from:
Wall Street Journal

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.