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Hydroxyurea for sickle cell disease


What is hydroxyurea?

Hydroxyurea (also called Droxia®; Hydrea®) is used to treat sickle cell disease. It is available as a 200-mg, 300-mg, 400-mg, and 500-mg capsule. It also is available as a 100-mg/mL liquid taken one (1) time a day by mouth.

Possible side effects of hydroxyurea

  • Low blood counts (dose slowly increased or adjusted to help sickle cell anemia)
  • Changes in kidney or liver function (rare)
  • Darkening of the skin and nails
  • Unknown risk to unborn babies and nursing infants

These are some of the reported side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833).

Special instructions for hydroxyurea

  • This medicine may be taken with or without food. If upset stomach occurs after taking the medicine, take with food.
  • Store the capsules at room temperature and protect them from moisture.
  • Store the liquid form of hydroxyurea in the refrigerator. Shake well before use. If small crystals are visible in liquid after shaking, contact your pharmacist.
  • You must measure the liquid dose with great care. Use oral syringes to measure each dose. The pharmacy will provide these syringes.
  • For liquid medicine, use each oral syringe only one (1) time. Then, throw it away in the trash. Do not try to wash and reuse the syringes.
  • Since some people have reported skin ulcers from handling this medicine, we suggest that anyone who handles hydroxyurea wear gloves. Also, wash your hands after handling this medicine.
  • As with any medicine, hydroxyurea should be stored safely away from children.
  • Men and women using hydroxyurea should use a contraceptive (birth control) to prevent pregnancy.
  • The Pharmacy will place all hydroxyurea medicine bottles in a yellow resealable bag. For safe handling, medicine should be stored in this yellow bag after each use. Return medicine as instructed by your clinic. Liquid and capsules should be carried in the yellow bag to prevent spills.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).