Deferiprone, efficacy and safety
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Objective : Deferiprone (L1), the new oral iron chelator has been studied in several countries for its efficacy and toxicity with some conflicting observations. Toxicity involving joints has been reported more frequently in Indian patients. The authors planned to include larger number of Indian thalassemics in studying safety and efficacy of Deferiprone.Methods : Seventy five thalassemic children (4–14 yr) were studied for one year with various investigations done periodically. Thirty patients (group A) received 50 mg/kg dose and 21 others (group B) received 75 mg/kg dose of Deferiprone. Rest of the patients were followed up without any chelator.Results: The serum ferritin levels reduced significantly in both groups (P<0.01 each); more in 75 mg/kg than the 50 mg/kg group. Arthropathy appeared in 15 (50%) patients in Group A and 6 (28.6%) of Group B after 1–12 (mean 6) months of L1 treatment; however, only one patient needed withdrawal of L1. Eleven patients needed indomethacin for pain relief. Seropositivity for antinuclear factor and rheumatoid factor had no relation to dose or duration of L1 therapy, arthropathy or the serum ferritin level. Twelve patients developed leucopenia (<3.0 x109/L) and neutropenia (0-1.8 x109/L) after 2–11 months of L1 therapy and was not related to the dose or duration of therapy. The drug was restarted in 10 patients and only one of them developed a second episode of neutropenia.Conclusion : Deferiprone is an effective iron chelator, but arthropathy and neutropenia are very frequent side effects and need strict monitoring during therapy. Most of the neutropenia are neither very severe nor recur with re-challenge with the drug. Similarly, arthropathy does not need withdrawal of drug in majority of patients.
Key wordsOral iron chelator Deferiprone L1 Betathalassemia
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