Hydroxyurea is used to treat certain types of cancer; it is often prescribed in response to inoperable or recurrent ovarian cancer, melanoma or leukemia. It is also used to treat sickle cell anemia, a blood disease in which the red blood cells are not shaped correctly. This medication stops cancer cells from growing and changes red blood cells’ composition so that they are less likely to bend into an improper shape.
Patients on this medication may develop an abnormally low blood cell count. This can lead to serious infections as well as to extreme fatigue. If you are unusually tired, call your doctor immediately, especially if you have signs of infection such as fever, chills, cough or sore throat. You also need emergency medical help if you develop a rapid heartbeat or pale skin while on this medication.
This medication makes both men and women less fertile; however, patients should use birth control while on this medication to ensure they don’t become pregnant. Exposure to hydroxyurea can be fatal to developing fetuses.