Hydrea is a cancer-fighting antineoplastic medication that kills abnormal cells in the body. It comes packaged as a pill, and should be swallowed whole with or without food. It is also available in its generic form, under the name Hydroxyurea. You will need a valid prescription to start taking it. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Cancers form when some cells within the body multiply uncontrollably and abnormally. The exact way in which Hydrea works is through a series of events that result in the inactivation of a particular enzyme, which interferes with DNA synthesis so cell growth is inhibited, as is any possibility of repairing the damage to the DNA. Hydrea has recently been found to increase the level of fetal hemoglobin that has led to a reduction in the painful complications that can occur in adults and adolescents with sickle cell.
Hydrea is prescribed to treat cancers of the skin, ovaries, neck, or head. These include certain types of leukemia (chronic myeloid leukemia), as well as squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas. The drug may also be used for managing a blood disorder called sickle cell anemia, which causes red blood cells to become rigid and ineffective. In either case, Hydrea will target the abnormal cancer or sickle cells and kill them so that healthy cells can flourish.
Hydrea may increase the risk of other cancers, so you will want to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages with your doctor before starting Hydrea. Ask your doctor about any harmful effects of taking Hydrea while you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Disclose any health concerns you have and list all medications you currently take or use.
Hydrea can also affect normal, healthy cells, particularly those that multiply quickly, such as normal healthy blood cells. The resulting decrease in the production of white blood cells may cause patients to become more susceptible to infection. Regular blood tests are needed to monitor the levels of blood cells during treatment.