Hydroxyurea is an oral antimetabolite; inhibits ribonucleotide reductase and DNA synthesis. It is used for resistant chronic myeloid leukemia, locally advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (excluding lip) in combination with concurrent chemoradiation, and to reduce the frequency of painful crises and the need for blood transfusions in patients with sickle cell anemia with recurrent moderate to severe painful crises. Hydroxyurea, a myelosuppressive agent, is the only effective drug proven to reduce the frequency of painful episodes. It raises the level of HbF and the haemoglobin level. It usually decreases the rate of painful episodes by 50%. It was first tested in sickle cell disease in 1984. It also decreases the rate of ACS episodes and blood transfusions by ~50 % in adults. It was developed as an anticancer drug and has been used to treat myeloproliferative syndromes-leukemia, melanoma, and ovarian cancer. It was approved for use by FDA in adults. Side effects includes neutropenia, bone marrow suppression, elevation of hepatic enzymes, anorexia, nausea, vomiting and infertility. NCATS
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