Drug Reduces Hospitalizations and Cost of Treating Pediatric Sickle Cell Anemia
Memphis, TN - A drug proven effective for treatment of adults and children with sickle cell anemia reduced hospitalizations and cut annual estimated medical costs by 21 percent for affected infants and toddlers, according to an analysis led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The report appears in the advance online edition of the journal Pediatrics.
The study is the largest ever focusing on the economic impact of the drug hydroxyurea in children with the inherited blood disorder. The result supports expanded use of the drug to extend the length and quality of life for sickle cell anemia patients of all ages, said Winfred Wang, M.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Hematology and principal investigator of the multicenter federally funded trial known as BABY HUG.
“We estimate that hydroxyurea cut overall annual medical expenses about $3,000 for each patient by helping patients avoid disease complications that require inpatient hospital care,” said Wang, who is first and corresponding author of the Pediatrics study. “We expect those savings will grow along with patients, whose symptoms often increase in severity and frequency as they age.”
The analysis comes two years after Wang and his colleagues reported that hydroxyurea reduced episodes of acute pain and pneumonia-like illness, eased other symptoms, reduced the need for blood transfusions and cut hospitalizations for infants and toddlers with sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is the most common and severe form of sickle cell disease. Continue>
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