October 1987

Unsuspected Pernicious Anemia in a Patient With Sickle Cell Disease Receiving Routine Folate Supplementation

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Radiology (Drs Sinow and Siegel), Medicine (Drs Johnson and Carmel), and Neurology (Dr Karnaze), Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, and the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(10):1828-1829. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370100142023

• Although the issue of folate supplementation in sickle cell anemia remains controversial, routine supplementation has become common. The major drawback to indiscriminate folate therapy is the potential of masking findings of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency. This has been dismissed as a problem in sickle cell anemia because of the generally young age of the patients. However, because young blacks, especially women, are at higher risk for developing pernicious anemia than whites, sickle cell anemia and pernicious anemia can be expected to coexist occasionally. In this article we describe such a patient and recommend that routine folate supplementation should not be given in sickle cell anemia before determining the vitamin B12 status.

(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:1828-1829)