Hydroxycarbamide (former British Approved Name hydroxyurea) is a ribonucleoside reductase inhibitor that suppresses cell division. Its main use is in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia but it also has a prophylactic role in the management of sickle cell anaemia.Hydroxycarbamide has replaced the alkylating agents busulphan and chlorambucil as the most commonly used cytotoxic therapy in polycythaemia rubra vera in the UK.
Hydroxycarbamide is not thought to increase the long-term risk of leukaemic transformation, unlike alkylating agents and radio-phosphorous. Nausea and skin reactions are the most common toxic effects.
Last reviewed 01/2018