Cutaneous adverse reactions to hydroxyurea in patients with intermediate thalassemia.
ABSTRACT Although the cutaneous effects of hydroxyurea have been described for patients with sickle cell anemia, myeloproliferative disorders, and psoriasis, there are no reports of cutaneous adverse effects from hydroxyurea when used for patients with intermediate thalassemia. Therefore 43 patients with intermediate thalassemia treated with hydroxyurea were examined by a dermatologist, and pertinent cutaneous findings were recorded. These patients had received hydroxyurea for a mean of 15.5 months. Nineteen had cutaneous hyperpigmentation, eight had xerosis, and three were found to have one cafe au lait macule each. Eleven patients had nail abnormalities, including nail ridging, partial leukonychia, and longitudinal melanonychia. There were no cases of leg ulceration. It was concluded that the risk of developing leg ulcers and pigmentary disorders appears to be related to the underlying disease being treated, as well as to a patient's age, gender, and pigmentation.