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Hydroxyurea is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. Hydroxyurea is classified as an "antimetabolite." (For more detail, see "How Hydroxyurea Works" section below).
What Hydroxyurea Is Used For:
- Chronic myeloid leukemia
- Essential thrombocytosis and polycythemia vera
- Head and neck cancer (used with radiation therapy)
- Refractory ovarian cancer (ovarian cancer that has not responded or progressed after standard therapy).
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How Hydroxyurea Is Given:
- Hydroxyurea is a pill, taken by mouth.
- Take Hydroxyurea exactly as prescribed.
- Hydroxyurea may be dissolved in water.
- The amount of Hydroxyurea that you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule.
Side Effects of Hydroxyurea:
Important things to remember about the side effects of Hydroxyurea:
- Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
- Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
- Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
- There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.
- The side effects of Hydroxyurea and their severity depend on how much of the drug is given. In other words, high doses may produce more severe side effects.