Zinc supplements for treating thalassaemia and sickle cell disease.

Kye Mon Min Swe, Adinegara B.L. Abas, Amit Bhardwaj, Ankur Barua, N. S. Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Haemoglobinopathies, inherited disorders of haemoglobin synthesis (thalassaemia) or structure (sickle cell disease), are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality throughout the world. The WHO estimates that, globally, 5% of adults are carriers of a haemoglobin difference -2.83 (95% confidence interval -3.51 to -2.15) (total participants 130), but not in zinc acetate group, mean difference 1.54 (95% confidence interval -2.01 to 5.09) (total participants 22). In one trial at three months and another at one year, the total number of clinical infections were significantly decreased in the zinc supplemented group as compared to controls, mean difference 0.05 (95% confidence interval 0.01 - 0.43) (total number of participants = 36), and mean difference -7.64 (95% confidence interval -10.89 to -4.39) (total number of participants = 21) respectively. According to the results, there is no evidence from randomised controlled trials to indicate any benefit of zinc supplementation with regards to serum zinc level in patients with thalassaemia. However, height velocity was noted to increase among those who received this intervention.There is mixed evidence on the benefit of using zinc supplementation in people with sickle cell disease. For instance, there is evidence that zinc supplementation for one year increased the serum zinc levels in patients with sickle cell disease. However, though serum zinc level was raised in patients receiving zinc supplementation, haemoglobin level and anthropometry measurements were not significantly different between groups. Evidence of benefit is seen with the reduction in the number of sickle cell crises among sickle cell patients who received one year of zinc sulphate supplementation and with the reduction in the total number of clinical infections among sickle cell patients who received zinc supplementation for both three months and for one year.The conclusion is based on the data from a small group of trials,which were generally of good quality, with a low risk of bias. The authors recommend that more trials on zinc supplementation in thalassaemia and sickle cell disease be conducted given that the literature has shown the benefits of zinc in these types of diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Cochrane database of systematic reviews
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Zinc supplements for treating thalassaemia and sickle cell disease.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this