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Hemoglobin S polymerization inhibitor

Brand names:


Often used for:

Treatment of sickle cell disease

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What is voxelotor?

Voxelotor is a medicine used to treat sickle cell disease. It works by helping hemoglobin in red blood cells carry more oxygen. It may also prevent red blood cells from becoming sickle shaped.

This medicine is most often given at home. It may be given with other medicines.

Your child will have blood tests while taking this medicine. Your care team will let you know when tests will be done.


May be given as a dissolvable tablet by mouth


May be given as a tablet by mouth

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Possible side effects

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Allergic reaction – Symptoms may include:
    • Rash, hives, or itching
    • Flu-like symptoms such as chills, aches, headache, or fever 
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath, coughing, or tightness in the throat  
    • Swelling of the face or neck

Not all patients who take voxelotor will have these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Report any symptoms or side effects to your care team or pharmacist. 

Find more information on side effects.

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Tips for patients and families

Be sure to discuss all questions and instructions with your doctor or pharmacist. 

  • It is important that your child has blood tests as you have been told by your care team.
  • This drug comes as 2 different types of tablets. Check this medicine each time you get it at the pharmacy. If you have questions, talk with your pharmacist.
  • Certain medicines can interact with voxelotor or change the levels of the medicine in the blood. Tell your care provider and pharmacist about all medicines, vitamins, and supplements your child takes.
  • It is important that patients tell the care team if they are sexually active, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Be sure your child does not breastfeed a baby while taking this medicine and for 2 weeks after the last dose.

Voxelotor at home

  • Give this medicine at the same time each day.
  • This medicine can be taken with or without food. Take with food if stomach upset occurs. Taking the medicine with meals may lessen stomach problems.
  • Keep giving this medicine to your child as you have been told by your child's care team, even if your child feels well.
  • The dose may be more than 1 tablet. Be sure you know how many tablets to use for the dose.
  • Tablets: Have your child swallow tablets whole. Do not let your child chew or crush tablets.
  • Dissolvable tablets: 
    • Drop tablet in water, clear liquids, or apple juice.
    • After the tablets start to dissolve, swirl the cup. until the tablets break apart. Wait 1 to 5 minutes and swirl again. Then have your child take the dose. The tablets do not fully dissolve.
    • Add small amounts of additional liquid, swirl, and have your drink until there is no more medicine left in the cup.
    • Your child may drink more water or other liquid after taking the medicine.
    • Wash your hands and make sure they are completely dry before handling this medicine.
  • In case of a missed dose, give the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling, storage, and disposal.