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Br J Haematol. 2000 Feb;108(2):284-9.

Oral magnesium pidolate: effects of long-term administration in patients with sickle cell disease.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Verona, Italy.


Prevention of erythrocyte dehydration by specific blockade of the transport pathways promoting loss of potassium (K) is a potential therapeutic strategy for sickle cell (SS) disease. Dietary magnesium (Mg) pidolate supplementation over a 4-week period has been shown to inhibit K-Cl co-transport and reduce dehydration. We report here the results in 17 of 20 patients with SS disease treated in an open-label unblinded study of the effects of long-term (6 months) oral Mg pidolate administration (540 mg Mg/d). A significant decrease (P < 0.0025) was observed with Mg therapy in the distribution widths for red cell mean cell haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) (haemoglobin distribution width; HDW), reticulocyte mean cell volume (red cell distribution width of reticulocytes; RDWr) and MCHC (reticulocyte HDW; HDWr), activity of red cell K-Cl co-transport, Na/Mg exchanger and Ca2+-activated (Gardos) K+ channel, whereas red cell K and Mg contents were significantly increased. Hb levels and absolute reticulocyte counts did not change with Mg therapy. Two patients did not complete the trial because of diarrhoea and one did not complete the trial for unrelated reasons. Although the median number of painful days in a 6-month period decreased from 15 (range 0-60) in the year before the trial to 1 (range 0-18; P < 0.0005) during the period of Mg therapy, no firm conclusion on therapeutic efficacy could be drawn from this unblinded open-label trial.

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