The association of oral hydroxyurea therapy with improved cognitive functioning in sickle cell disease

Child Neuropsychol. 2007 Mar;13(2):142-54. doi: 10.1080/09297040600584626.


This study examined potential cognitive benefits of oral hydroxyurea therapy for children with sickle cell disease (SCD). Cognitive abilities of 15 children with SCD on hydroxyurea were compared to 50 other children with SCD, controlling for demographics and hematocrit. Children on hydroxyurea scored significantly higher on tests of verbal comprehension, fluid reasoning, and general cognitive ability than children not on the drug. The data therefore provide preliminary evidence of cognitive benefits of hydroxyurea. Mechanisms for this effect may be improved blood/oxygen supply to the brain or reduced fatigue and illness.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / drug therapy*
  • Antisickling Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aptitude / drug effects
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Comprehension / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / therapeutic use*
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Retention, Psychology / drug effects
  • Verbal Learning / drug effects


  • Antisickling Agents
  • Hydroxyurea