Provider barriers to hydroxyurea use in adults with sickle cell disease: a survey of the Sickle Cell Disease Adult Provider Network

J Natl Med Assoc. 2008 Aug;100(8):968-73.


The FDA approved hydroxyurea for use in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) in 1998. In 2002, the NHLBI published recommendations for the use of hydroxyurea in this patient population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate providers' awareness of the NHLBI recommendations regarding hydroxyurea prescribing, whether these recommendations have changed providers' practices and how these providers prescribed hydroxyurea. We chose to survey a select group of providers of care to adults with SCD, members of the Sickle Cell Adult Provider Network. The response rate was 47%. Eighty-one percent of respondents reported they had read the NHLBI recommendations on hydroxyurea use, and 76% of respondents agreed with the NHLBI recommendations. Only 45% of respondents to this survey reported that they prescribe hydroxyurea to every eligible patient. Black respondents reported a higher percentage of their eligible patients being on hydroxyurea than white respondents. Seventy-seven percent of respondents thought that hydroxyurea was effective or very effective in patients with SCD. Ninety-four percent of black versus 73% of white versus 40% of other race respondents thought that hydroxyurea was effective or very effective in SCD patients (p = 0.006). The results of this survey suggest that lack of awareness, agreement and belief in the benefits of hydroxyurea contributes to providers underprescribing hydroxyurea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / drug therapy*
  • Antisickling Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Drug Utilization Review*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility* / standards
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Physicians / organization & administration
  • Population Surveillance
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Antisickling Agents
  • Hydroxyurea