Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
N Engl J Med. 1995 Jun 15;332(24):1606-10.

Extended therapy with intravenous arginine butyrate in patients with beta-hemoglobinopathies.

Author information

  • 1Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.



Enhanced production of fetal hemoglobin lessens the severity of beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Intravenous infusion of arginine butyrate can increase the number of reticulocytes containing fetal hemoglobin in patients with these disorders, and it has induced a substantial increase in hemoglobin in one patient with thalassemia. We therefore tested the efficacy of this agent in patients with beta-hemoglobinopathies.


We treated 10 patients with severe beta-thalassemia or sickle cell disease with arginine butyrate at an initial dose of 500 mg per kilogram of body weight per day (final dose, 2000 mg per kilogram per day), 6 days per week, for a mean (+/- SD) of 10 +/- 1.2 weeks (range, 9 to 13). A hematologic response was defined as an increase in the hemoglobin concentration of at least 2 g per deciliter in patients with thalassemia and as a twofold increase in the fetal hemoglobin concentration in patients with sickle cell disease.


Increase in gamma-globin messenger RNA and in reticulocytes containing fetal hemoglobin but not in hemoglobin were observed in the patients with thalassemia. A small, unsustained increase in fetal hemoglobin was observed in two patients with sickle cell disease. Drug toxicity was minimal at standard doses. One patient had a grand mal seizure after inadvertently receiving 2000 mg of arginine butyrate per kilogram over a period of six hours.


Ten weeks of intravenous arginine butyrate did not produce a hematologic response in 10 patients with either severe beta-thalassemia or sickle cell disease.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk