Determinants of hydroxyurea use among doctors, nurses and sickle cell disease patients in Nigeria

Hezekiah Alkali Isa, Uche Nnebe-Agumadu, Maxwell M. Nwegbu, Emmanuel C. Okocha, Reuben I. Chianumba, Biobele J. Brown, Samuel A. Asala, Emmanuel Peprah, Obiageli E. Nnodu

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Background Hydroxyurea (HU) is an evidence-based therapy that is currently the most effective drug for sickle cell disease (SCD). HU is widely used in high-income countries with consequent reduction of morbidity and mortality. In Nigeria, HU is prescribed by physicians while nurses are mainly involved in counseling the patients to ensure adherence. The extent of utilization and the determinant factors have not been sufficiently evaluated in Nigeria. Objective To assess the frequency of use of HU and factors affecting utilization among healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers for SCD. Methods A questionnaire was administered online and in- person to assess the frequency of HU use and the factors that promote and limit its use. The data were analyzed by descriptive statistics using IBM SPSS software version 23 and the result was presented in frequency tables and percentages. Result A total of 137 physicians, 137 nurses, and 237 patients/caregivers responded to the survey. The rate of prescription of HU by doctors in the past 6 months was 64 (46.7%), 43 (31.4%) nurses provided counseling and 36 (15.6%) patients were on HU. Among doctors, adequate knowledge (91.3%), clinical benefits and safety (94.8%), and inclusion of HU in management guidelines (86.9%) were motivators for prescribing it while inadequate knowledge (60.9%) and unawareness of treatment guidelines (68.6%) constituted barriers. Among nurses, reduction of crisis (91.6%) and safety (64.8%) were the major motivators while barriers were high cost (79.1%) and intensive monitoring (63.1%) of HU treatment. Among the patients, the major motivator was the reduction of crises (80.3%) while poor knowledge (93.2%), high cost of the drug (92.2%) while monitoring (91.2%), non-availability (87.7%) and side effects (83.9%) were the major barriers for the utilization of HU. Conclusion HU prescription and utilization are still poor among healthcare providers and patients. Inadequate knowledge, non-availability and high cost of HU as well as unawareness of treatment guidelines constitute major barriers to prescription and utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0276639
JournalPloS one
Issue number11 November
StatePublished - Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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