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A study into the effectiveness of Hydroxycarbamide (Hydroxyurea) in treating the complications caused by Sickle Cell Anaemia and side effects caused by taking the drug:

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Sam Williams A study into the effectiveness of Hydroxycarbamide (Hydroxyurea) in treating the complications caused by Sickle Cell Anaemia and side effects caused by taking the drug: Sickle Cell Anaemia is a disease that affects the haemoglobin in the red blood cells. The haemoglobin is what the oxygen binds to so changing this means less oxygen is carried around the body. The blood cells also change shape in a sickle shape and become fragile which means that they can break up and clog up blood vessels which leads to blood clots. These episodes are called crises?. Crisies? can cause many problems such as strokes and heart attacks. Sickle Cell Anaemia can also cause acute chest syndrome a life-threatening infection in the lungs which can cause problems with the air circulating in the lungs. All of these conditions need urgent medical attention due to the severe risk they cause to a person?s health. The most common treatment for Sickle Cell Anaemia is with the drug hydroxycarbamide, also known as hydroxyurea. The drug, which is given if a person has recurring episodes of a sickle cell crisis which require treatment in hospital, was found to stimulate the production of a type of haemoglobin called foetal haemoglobin. Foetal haemoglobin (HbF) is found in unborn babies and is gradually replaced by adult haemoglobin as the child gets older. As foetal haemoglobin is not affected by the sickle cell mutation, it is able to partly take over the role of adult haemoglobin, helping to reduce the risk of someone with the condition experiencing a sickle cell crisis. Replacing the affected adult haemoglobin with foetal haemoglobin by treatment with Hyrdoxyurea which stimulates production of HbF means that blood cells are able to carry more oxygen around the body. Having fewer red blood cells that are affected by Sickle Cell Anaemia also means that they won?t become fragile so blood clots are less likely. ...read more.


Ethical Issues: 1. There are issues surrounding the side effects of the drug hydroxyurea. It has been recorded that the drug can negatively affect young children taking it to treat sickle cell anaemia as it can reduce growth rates and there is a lack of significant data to contradict this as yet. 2. Another issue with this study is the exclusion criteria for people able to take the drug. People that fall outside these criteria are unable to take the drug which they feel they should be allowed to take in an attempt to treat their sickle cell anaemia which is potentially life threatening. 3. Issue also surround the use of the drug over a prolonged period of time. There is also little data this subject so it is unknown whether patients treated with Hyrdoxyurea will get any serious side effects later in life that have not yet been discovered. 1762 Words Social Issues: 1. There are issues involved in the research into the use of Hydroxyurea in treating Sickle Cell Anaemia. In carrying out the research, a control group of sufferers were given a placebo, rather than the Hydroxyurea, thus allowing researchers to compare the effects with and without the drug. The subjects were unaware that they weren?t taking the drug so weren?t getting any of the benefits of it. In not taking the drug, the subjects had a greater chance of having a Crisis and of having Acute Chest Syndrome. This would result in greater pain for the subject and a greater chance of being hospitalised. There are some definite benefits of the use of Hydroxyurea in humans. This drug can halve the risk of a person having a Crisis or of having Acute Chest Syndrome. This will not only reduce the pain, which a sufferer has a result of the disease but it can improve the quality of life and also leads to them living longer with the disease as these complications are strongly linked with death. ...read more.


The Journal is aimed at and written by British Medical professionals and as a result is detailed and accurate in its articles, and unlike some sites which are aimed at the general public, it doesn?t need to simplify the language used. The article specifically gives several references from other professional sources that back up the information given. The only downfall in this source is its age, as it was written in and uses data from 1999 and earlier and as a result may be out of data today. Overall there is little doubt that over the reliability of this source as it is taken from a professional, well respected medical journal. The two studies discussed earlier both appear to show the same results for the use of Hyrdoxyurea to treat sickle cell anaemia. They both shown a decrease in the number of hospitalisations of a person, due to them having a crisis, in the group taking the drug compared to the group not taking the drug or taking a placebo. The fact that these studies, and that printed in the British Medical Journal all come up with correlating evidence is enough to suggest that Hyrdoxyurea can be used to effectively treat sickle cell anaemia. 3246 Words One downside of comparing the two studies is in the age range of the members in the study. While the first, carried out by Harvard University, focuses only on those aged over 17 the second, by The Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Centre, looks at the affect of Hyrdoxyurea on children alone. This difference in ages could produce differing results that cannot be reliably compared. Also, both of the studies were only carried out over a short period of time and the lack of long-term studies limits conclusions about side effects such as toxicity and possible mortality. However, the reliability of the actual data is unlikely to be called into question as all the studies have been carried out by professional, reputable institutes and the data published on official websites. ...read more.

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