L-glutamine for sickle cell anemia: more questions than answers

Charles T. Quinn


In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two medications for sickle cell anemia (SCA): hydroxyurea for children (≥2 years of age) and L-glutamine for children and adults (≥5 years). The approval of hydroxyurea for children was long overdue, having been authorized by the FDA for adults in 1998 and by the European Medicines Agency for adults and children in 2007, but the approval of L-glutamine was a surprise to many in the field. There are few published studies of L-glutamine as a treatment for SCA, so all can be reviewed in this brief manuscript. Accordingly, there are many unanswered questions about L-glutamine and its role in current therapy for SCA.

  • Submitted March 29, 2018.
  • Accepted June 11, 2018.