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All about: Hydrea

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Generic Name: hydroxyurea (hy drox ee yoo REE uh)
Brand Names: Droxia, Hydrea

What is Hydrea (hydroxyurea)?

Hydroxyurea affects certain cells in the body, such as cancer cells or sickled red blood cells.

Hydroxyurea is used to treat melanoma (a type of skin cancer), chronic myelocytic leukemia, cancer of the ovary, and primary squamous cell (skin) cancer of the head and neck. Hydroxyurea is also used to treat sickle cell anemia.

Hydroxyurea may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Hydrea (hydroxyurea)?

Hydroxyurea can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Do not use this medication if you are pregnant. It could cause harm to the unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Talk with your doctor if you have trouble swallowing the capsule. Your doctor may instruct you to open the capsule, pour the medicine powder into a glass of water, and drink this mixture. If you open a capsule, do not inhale the powder or let it come in contact with your skin. Wash your hands before and after handling the pills, and wear disposable gloves when opening the capsule. If any of the medicine is spilled, wipe up the spill with a damp cloth and throw the cloth away in a sealed plastic bag. Keep all medicine and empty capsule shells out of the reach of children and pets. Handle the tablets and capsules with extreme care. The medicine from a crushed or broken tablet or capsule can be dangerous if it gets in your eyes, mouth, or nose, or on your skin. Wash your hands before and after handling the pills or the medicine bottle. For best protection, wear disposable gloves whenever handling the bottle or the pills. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to safely dispose of any unused tablets or capsules.

Call your doctor promptly if you have any skin changes such as pinpont red spots, red patches, skin ulcers, or darkened skin (especially on your legs or feet). These may be early signs of a serious side effect.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Hydrea (hydroxyurea)?

Before taking hydroxyurea, tell your doctor if you are being treated with radiation therapy or using interferon (Roferon, Intron, Rebetron, Actimmune, Betaseron, Rebif, Infergen, Alferon).

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have:

  • poor bone marrow function;

  • liver disease; or
  • kidney disease.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use hydroxyurea, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use hydroxyurea if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. Hydroxyurea can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medicine.

How should I take Hydrea (hydroxyurea)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger or smaller amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Hydroxyurea can be taken with or without food.

Handle the tablets and capsules with extreme care. The medicine from a crushed or broken tablet or capsule can be dangerous if it gets in your eyes, mouth, or nose, or on your skin. Wash your hands before and after handling the pills or the medicine bottle. For best protection, wear disposable gloves whenever handling the bottle or the pills. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to safely dispose of any unused tablets or capsules. Talk with your doctor if you have trouble swallowing the capsule. Your doctor may instruct you to open the capsule, pour the medicine powder into a glass of water, and drink this mixture. If you open a capsule, do not inhale the powder or let it come in contact with your skin. Wash your hands before and after handling the pills, and wear disposable gloves when opening the capsule. If any of the medicine is spilled, wipe up the spill with a damp cloth and throw the cloth away in a sealed plastic bag. Keep all medicine and empty capsule shells out of the reach of children and pets.

Hydroxyurea can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

If you vomit shortly after taking a dose hydroxyurea, contact your doctor. You may need to take another dose. Follow your doctor's instructions.

It is important to take hydroxyurea regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Store hydroxyurea at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine, or if anyone has accidentally swallowed it.

What should I avoid while taking Hydrea (hydroxyurea)?

Do not allow anyone else to take your medication or handle the medicine bottle, tablets, or capsules. Anyone preparing or handling this medicine for you should wear disposable gloves and wash hands before and after handling the medicine.

Avoid contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with hydroxyurea, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you.

Hydrea (hydroxyurea) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • pinpoint red spots on your skin;

  • red patches, skin ulcers, or darkened skin (especially on your legs or feet);

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • nausea or vomiting;

  • loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea;

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips; or

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness.

Other less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • constipation;

  • skin rash;

  • itching;

  • leg sores;

  • redness of the face;

  • hair loss;

  • drowsiness;

  • headache; or

  • dizziness.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Hydrea (hydroxyurea)?

There may be other drugs that can affect hydroxyurea. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about hydroxyurea written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Hydroxyurea is available with a prescription generically and under the brand names Hydrea and Droxia. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with other, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 4/14/06 10:13:57 AM.

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