Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Pain Common With Sickle Cell Disease

Study: Sickle Cell Disease Patients Are in Pain More Often Than Previously Reported
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 14, 2008 -- Pain is "the rule rather than exception" among adults with sickle cell disease, researchers report.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition in which certain red blood cells become crescent-shaped (sickled). That makes it hard for those cells to pass through narrow blood vessels, which deprives tissue of oxygen and causes pain.

Experts at the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University studied 232 people age 16 and older (average age: 32) with sickle cell disease.

For six months, the patients kept daily diaries about their sickle cell pain. Those diaries show that:

  • 29% of the patients reported sickle cell pain nearly every day.
  • 54% reported pain on more than half of the days.
  • Only 14% rarely reported pain.
  • Average pain intensity was in the middle of the study's pain scale.

The patients often didn't go see a doctor about their sickle cell pain, handling it at home instead.

"Our results are both surprising and striking," write Virginia Commonwealth University's Wally Smith, MD, and colleagues. "Pain in adults with sickle cell disease is far more prevalent and severe than previous studies have portrayed, and it is mostly managed at home."

Smith's team concludes that sickle cell disease should be recognized as a source of chronic pain. The study appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing