Medications to target sickle cells, infections and pain

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Learn about hydroxyurea, a medicine that helps red blood cells stay round and flexible, antibiotics to treat infections and medications to manage mild-to-moderate pain.

Key points

  • Hydroxyurea is a prescription medication taken by mouth each day. It helps red blood cells travel easily through tiny blood vessels and helps reduce complications of sickle cell disease.
  • Antibiotic medications are used to treat infections. Infections can be a medical emergency for people with sickle cell disease, so it is important to treat an infection early.
  • Most sickle cell disease pain may be treated with over-the-counter medications.
  • People with more severe pain may be given opioids as needed or may be admitted to the hospital to receive pain medications through an intravenous line (IV).
Last updated: January 31st 2024