What is this medicine?
HYDROXYUREA is a chemotherapy drug. It slows the growth of cancer cells. This medicine is used to treat certain leukemias, skin cancer, head and neck cancer, and advanced ovarian cancer. It is also used to control the painful crises of sickle cell anemia.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- immune system problems
- infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
- kidney disease
- low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts
- previous or ongoing radiation therapy
- an unusual or allergic reaction to hydroxyurea, other chemotherapy, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor’s advice.
People who are not taking this medicine should not be exposed to it. Wash your hands before and after handling your bottle or medicine. Caregivers should wear disposable gloves if they must touch the bottle or medicine. Clean up any medicine powder that spills with a damp disposable towel and throw the towel away in a closed container, such as a plastic bag.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
Patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medicine?
- other chemotherapy agents
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop. You will receive regular blood tests during your treatment.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body’s ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.
Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.
Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Men should inform their doctors if they wish to father a child. This medicine may lower sperm counts. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.
What side effects may I notice from this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- low blood counts – this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
- signs of infection – fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
- signs of decreased platelets or bleeding – bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
- signs of decreased red blood cells – unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness
- breathing problems
- burning, redness or pain at the site of any radiation therapy
- changes in skin color
- mouth sores
- pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet
- skin ulcers
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- loss of appetite
- red color to the face
This list may not describe all possible side effects.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.