Impact of renal function on hydroxyurea exposure in sickle-cell disease patients

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021 May;87(5):2274-2285. doi: 10.1111/bcp.14653. Epub 2020 Dec 14.


Aims: This prospective study aimed to develop a population pharmacokinetics (PK) model of hydroxyurea (HU) in patients with sickle cell disease. This model can be used to determine the impact of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) on HU kinetics.

Methods: We included 30 patients. They underwent HU pharmacokinetics analyses of plasma and urine. Six underwent PK analyses in 2 periods with and without angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. HU was assayed with a validated high-performance liquid chromatography-UV method. Noncompartmental PK analysis was conducted and a population PK model built with Monolix. This model was validated externally on another 56 patients. HU PK was simulated as a function of GFR.

Results: The HU PK model was constructed as a 2-compartment model with first-order absorption and elimination. The quality criteria were good, including for external validation. We found that estimated GFR (eGFR) and body weight affected HU PK, with lower eGFR or body weight associated with a higher HU area under the curve. We recommend the monitoring of HU through eGFR and body weight, which together account for 47% of its variability. Urinary HU fractions and renal clearance were higher in the glomerular hyperfiltration group and lower in the moderate chronic kidney disease group, respectively. No differences in nonrenal HU clearance were observed.

Conclusion: Estimated GFR has an impact on the kinetics of hydroxyurea, and HU dose should be adapted accordingly. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor seems to have minor effect on HU PK in adults with sickle cell disease.

Keywords: glomerular hyperfiltration; hydroxyurea; moderate chronic kidney disease; sickle cell disease.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / drug therapy
  • Antisickling Agents
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea*
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Prospective Studies


  • Antisickling Agents
  • Hydroxyurea