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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Deferiprone therapy for transfusional iron overload.

Iron chelation is needed to prevent damage to the heart, liver and endocrine glands from iron overload in patients with refractory anaemias who receive regular blood transfusions. Desferrioxamine is still the first-line drug, but because of its expense in many countries, and lack of compliance because of difficulty with administration, there is a major need for an orally active (and cheaper) chelating drug. Seventeen years after the first clinical trials deferiprone, which is orally active, has emerged as suitable for patients for whom desferrioxamine is, for one reason or another, inadequate. Many patients are successfully chelated at a dose of deferiprone 75 mg/kg/day. Some patients may need higher doses (up to 100 mg/kg), or combination therapy of deferiprone every day and desferrioxamine on several days each week. Recent data suggest that deferiprone may be superior to desferrioxamine at protecting the heart from iron overload. The side-effects of deferiprone--agranulocytosis, neutropenia, gastrointestinal symptoms, arthropathy, transient changes in liver enzymes, and zinc deficiency--are now well recognized; they result in discontinuation of the drug in only 5-10% of patients. Deferiprone is now licensed in 43 countries for thalassaemia major patients for whom desferrioxamine is inadequate. If results of current trials confirm its superiority at reducing cardiac damage, it may well become the first-line drug for many patients.[1]


  1. Deferiprone therapy for transfusional iron overload. Victor Hoffbrand, A. Best practice & research. Clinical haematology. (2005) [Pubmed]
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