Parental and other factors associated with hydroxyurea use for pediatric sickle cell disease

Authors

  • Suzette O. Oyeku MD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York
    • Children's Hospital at Montefiore, 3444 Kossuth Avenue 1st Floor, Bronx, NY 10467
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  • M. Catherine Driscoll MD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York
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  • Hillel W. Cohen DrPH, MPH,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York
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  • Rebecca Trachtman BA,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York
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  • Farzana Pashankar MD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
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  • Craig Mullen MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
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  • Patricia J. Giardina MD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York
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  • Nerissa Velazco BS,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York
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  • Andrew D. Racine MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York
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  • Nancy S. Green MD

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York
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  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to declare.

Abstract

Background

Hydroxyurea (HU) is highly effective treatment for sickle cell disease (SCD). While pediatric use of HU is accepted clinical practice, barriers to use may impede its potential benefit.

Procedure

A survey of parents of children ages 5–17 years with SCD was performed across five institutions to assess factors associated with HU use.

Results

Of the 173 parent responses, 65 (38%) had children currently taking HU. Among parents of children not taking HU, the most commonly cited reasons were that their hematology provider had not offered it, their child was not sufficiently symptomatic and concerns about potential side effects. Even parents of HU users reported widespread concern about effectiveness, long-term safety, and off-label use. In bivariate analyses, children's ages, parental demographics such as education level, or travel time to their hematology provider were not correlated with HU use. Bivariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression revealed three significant factors associated with current HU use: better parental knowledge about its major therapeutic effects (P < 0.001), sickle genotype (P = 0.005), and institution of clinical care (P = 0.04).

Conclusions

Pervasive concerns about HU safety exist, even among parents of current users. Varying knowledge among parents appears to be independent of their demographics, and is associated with HU use. Inter-institutional variability in parental knowledge and drug uptake highlights potentially potent site-specific influences on likelihood of HU use. Overall, these survey data underscore the need for strategies to bolster parental understanding about benefits of HU and address concerns about its safety. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2013; 60: 653–658. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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