Does Hydroxycarbamide Exposure Decrease Cognitive Impairment Risk in Patients with Sickle Cell Disease?

A study observed an association between hydroxycarbamide treatment and improved neurocognitive outcomes in adolescents with sickle cell disease (SCD). Patients with SCD aged 16 to 17 years were evaluated based on whether they were exposed to hydroxycarbamide (HbSC/HbSβ+ thalassemia, n=12; HbSS/HbSβ0 thalassemia, n=52) or not (HbSC/HbSβ+ thalassemia, n=31; HbSS/HbSβ0 thalassemia, n=8). When adjusting for socioeconomic factors, the hydroxycarbamide group outperformed the non-hydroxycarbamide group in nonverbal IQ, reaction speed, sustained attention, working memory, and verbal memory. Among patients with HbSS/HbSβ0 thalassemia, longer hydroxycarbamide treatment duration was correlated with better verbal memory and reading.