Deferiprone (Oral Route)

1 Deferiprone (Oral Route): A Summary

Brand Name:


Deferiprone binds with iron in the blood to eliminate excess iron resulting from blood transfusion in thalassemia patients. The kidneys are responsible for eliminating this combination. Various organs and tissues can be damaged when there is excess iron in the blood. This drug requires a prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before taking this drug, the risks and benefits for your body should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. 

Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications. Studies in children regarding the relationship of age to the effects of deferiprone have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established. Studies in the elderly regarding the relationship of age to the effects of deferiprone have not been performed. 

Adjustments in the dose of the elderly may be required since they are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems. Risks to the fetus have been reported but these may be outweighed by the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease. Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding. 

Discuss with your healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits before taking this drug while breastfeeding. Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects. 

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other drugs such as Aceclofenac, Diclofenac, Phenylbutazone, Probenecid, or Silymarin. Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. 

Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco. Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as blood or bone marrow problems, liver disease, or infection.

3 Proper Usage

To prevent any side effects, take this drug exactly as directed in the label or as prescribed by your healthcare professional. It is recommended to take the first dose in the morning, the second dose at midday, and the third dose in the evening with meals. 

Take drugs such as antacids, multivitamins, or supplements containing aluminum, iron, and zinc at least 4 hours before or after taking deferiprone. The dose of this drug will be variable for different patients. The directions on the label or the prescription by your healthcare professional should be followed. The dosage of this drug you take depends on the medical problem for which you are using this drug. 

The dose in adults with chronic iron overload is based on body weight and must be determined by your healthcare professional. 25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight is initially given, three times a day. Your healthcare professional may adjust your dose if necessary. 

The dose must not exceed 33 mg per kg of body weight, three times a day. Use and dose in children must be determined by your healthcare professional. A missed dose should be taken as soon as possible. However, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule if it is almost time for your next dose. 

Store the drug in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children. Dispose any outdated or expired drugs and ask your healthcare professional for the proper disposal of the drugs.

4 Precautions to Take

Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug. Unwanted effects can be screened using blood and urine tests. Check with your healthcare professional before you take any other prescription or nonprescription drugs, and herbal or vitamin supplements.

5 Potential Side Effects

Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur. Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as: 

  • black, tarry stools
  • chills
  • cough
  • fever
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • ulcers
  • sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • fever with or without chills
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • hoarseness
  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • anxiety, bleeding gums
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • clay-colored stools
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • dark urine
  • decreased urination
  • dilated neck veins
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • extreme fatigue
  • fainting
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • headache, hives
  • increase in heart rate
  • increased sweating
  • irregular breathing
  • irritation
  • itching, joint pain
  • stiffness, or swelling, large, flat, blue or purplish patches in the skin
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle tremors
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • painful knees and ankles
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • raised red swellings on the skin
  • the buttocks, legs, or ankles
  • rapid weight gain
  • deep breathing rapid
  • shallow breathing
  • rash
  • redness of the skin
  • restlessness
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • slow heartbeat
  • sneezing
  • spots on your skin resembling a blister or pimple
  • stomach cramps
  • sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • sugar in the urine
  • sunken eyes
  • sweating
  • swelling around the eyes swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, hands, or feet, thirst
  • tightness in the chest
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • trouble with balance
  • troubled breathing or swallowing
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • vision changes
  • vomiting of blood
  • weight gain
  • wrinkled skin
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the drug, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. 

If any of the following side effects persists, or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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