Deferiprone - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Deferiprone is a drug to treat iron overload in patients with thalassemia who routinely undergo blood transfusions. Blood transfusions that are routinely carried out have a risk of increasing iron levels in the body.

Excess iron in the body can cause certain disorders and diseases, such as heart failure, liver disease, or diabetes. Deferiprone will work by binding iron and removing it through urine.

Deferiprone trademarks: Deferiprone, Defiron, Ferriprox, Oferlod

What is Deferiprone

groupPrescription drugs
CategoryIron binder (chelate)
BenefitOvercoming iron overload in patients with thalassemia who routinely undergo blood transfusions.
Consumed byMature
Deferiprone for pregnant and lactating womenCategory D:There is positive evidence of risks to the human fetus, but the benefits may outweigh the risks, for example in dealing with life-threatening situations.

It is not known whether deferiprone is absorbed into breast milk or not. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.  

Drug formTablets and syrup

Precautions Before Taking Deferiprone

Before taking this drug, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • Tell your doctor about any allergies you have. Deferiprone should not be taken by patients who are allergic to this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have had a low white blood cell count, such as neutropenia or agranulocytosis. Deferiprone should not be given to patients with these conditions.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or are currently suffering from liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, infectious disease, electrolyte disturbances, or have a weakened immune system, for example due to HIV.
  • Deferiprone can make users more susceptible to infection. As much as possible avoid close contact with people with infectious diseases that are easily transmitted, such as the flu.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements, or herbal products.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Use effective birth control for up to 3–6 months after treatment with deferiprone.
  • Do not breastfeed while taking deferiprone for up to 2 weeks after taking the last dose.
  • See your doctor right away if you have an allergic drug reaction, serious side effect, or overdose after taking deferiprone.

Dosage and Instructions for Use Deferiprone

Deferiprone dosage can be different in each patient. This will be adjusted to the patient's condition and response to treatment. This drug is intended to treat iron overload in thalassemia patients who routinely perform blood transfusions.

In general, the dose of deferiprone for adults is 25 mg/kg, 3 times a day. Medicines can be taken in the morning, afternoon and evening. The dose can be increased to a maximum of 100 mg/kg body weight per day.

How to Take Deferiprone Correctly

Follow the doctor's advice and read the information listed on the drug packaging before taking deferiprone. Do not reduce or increase the dose without consulting your doctor first.

Deferiprone can be taken before or after meals. To reduce nausea, you can consume it after eating.

If you are taking antacids or supplements containing iron, aluminum, or zinc, it is best to take them 4 hours before or after taking deferiprone.

Try to take deferiprone at the same time every day for maximum treatment.

To take deferiprone syrup, use the measuring device provided on the medicine package or provided by a doctor. Do not use other measuring devices or household spoons, because the dose may not be as prescribed.

If you forget to take deferiprone, take this medicine immediately if the gap between the next consumption schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore it and do not double the dose.

Store deferiprone at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Keep this medicine out of reach of children.

Deferiprone Interactions with Other Drugs

The following are some of the effects of drug interactions that can occur when deferiprone is used together with other drugs:

  • Increased serum concentrations of deferiprone in the body when used with phenylbuzatone
  • Decreased serum concentrations and effects of deferiprone when used with antacids or supplements and products containing aluminum, zinc, or iron
  • Increased risk of severe infection if used with drugs that can lower white blood cells, such as allopurinol, everolimus, azathioprine, blinatumomab, cisplatin, tocilizumab, or clozapine

Deferiprone Side Effects and Dangers

Some of the side effects that can occur after taking deferiprone are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Red-brown urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain or heartburn
  • Joint pain

Check with your doctor if the side effects above do not subside immediately or are getting worse. The use of deferiprone can also increase the risk of infection, because this drug can cause low white blood cell counts.

Immediately see a doctor if you experience complaints that could indicate an infectious disease, such as fever, chills, or a sore throat that does not go away.

In addition, you should also see a doctor immediately if you experience an allergic drug reaction or more serious side effects, such as:

  • Severe dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Reddish-purple rash or patches
  • Heart palpitations or fast heart rate
  • Fainting or seizure