Answered: Your Burning Questions to a Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Study

Could crizanlizumab be the next treatment to prevent pain in those with sickle cell disease (SCD)? Is this the medicine you’ve been hoping for?

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited form of anemia—a condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body.

Normally, the red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through the blood vessels. With SCD, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.

There’s no cure for most people with sickle cell disease.

But treatments can relieve pain and help prevent problems associated with the disease.

So, according to a release published on the American Pharmacists’ Association website earlier this year, this study may be the breakthrough news the SCD has been waiting for.

In this randomized study, the patients were either offered a high dose crizanlizumab, low dose crizanlizumab, or a placebo. Within a year, 198 patients were given intravenous (administered into a vein via a tube) treatments 14 times.

Over the course of a year, the median pain crises were 45% lower in the group who had the high-dose than those receiving the placebo. Also, patients with the high dose also went about four months before having a pain crisis. This is in comparison to about one month for the placebo takers.

There were some adverse events for those who took the crizanlizumab, but there was a low occurrence of these adverse events. This includes diarrhea, vomiting, itchy skin, and chest pain.

An adhesion molecule P-selectin plays a part in prompting pain crises in people with SCD. The researchers believed that an antibody might fight against the pain episodes. In other words, the treatment did result in a significantly lower rate of pain crises than the placebo.

This a great advancement for those with sickle cell disease.

Click here to read more about the study.

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