Learning About Leg Ulcers

A Patient had listened extensively to the Guest Physician at a Sickle Cell Adult Group Meeting raving about Hydroxyurea, the wonder drug that stopped people from having Pain Crisis!  The Patient still had doubts, so they went on with life!

About 6 months later the Patient's Hematologist brought up the subject again! Knowing the Patient’s history, the Hematologist urged the Patient to just start Hydroxyurea, and see how it worked!

Reluctantly, the Patient agreed!  Part of taking Hydroxyurea includes visiting the Hematologist weekly, so the blood can be drawn and monitored.

After about two months the Patient noticed that their *Leg Ulcers were getting worse! It was harder to stand or walk and now they had to use a cane, and sometimes a wheelchair!

Next visit, the Hematologist told the Patient that Hydroxyurea could cause or worsen Leg Ulcers!  The Patient and Spouse became concerned because the Hematologist was aware that the Patient had Leg Ulcers, so why did he prescribe Hydroxyurea?

In hindsight, the Patient & Spouse realized that they should always investigate each RX on their own for adverse reactions, and not take the word of the Physician alone!

*Leg Ulcers are the most common cutaneous manifestation of SCD with an incidence of 25% to 75% among affected Patients. They’re a chronic, painful problem resulting from minor injury to the area around the malleoli (the bony prominence on each side of the human ankle). Because of relatively poor circulation, compounded by sickling and microinfarcts, healing is delayed and infection becomes established.

Nita Thompson, The KIS Foundation SCD Community Liaison / Advocate