Deferiprone (Oral)

Deferiprone medication is administered orally and binds to iron, removing it from the bloodstream.

Overview

Deferiprone is a drug that helps treat an iron overload in the body. It's a prescription that belongs to a category of drugs known as iron chelators which work by binding to iron in order to get rid of it from the body.

This drug comes as a tablet and a solution that is taken by mouth (orally), usually three times daily. You can take Deferiprone with food or without. Taking Deferiprone with your meals may help relieve nausea that may occur after taking the medication.

Deferiprone is available under the Ferriprox brand name. It's part of the medication class known as iron chelating agents.

Some common Deferiprone side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and reddish-brown urine.

Conditions treated

  • Iron overload

Type of medicine

  • Iron chelator

Side effects

Apart from its useful effects, Deferiprone can bring about several undesirable effects. While not all the effects below can occur, some of them may need medical care.

See your doctor promptly if you develop any of the effects below while using Deferiprone:

More common:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Cough
  • Side or lower back pain
  • Pale skin
  • Sore throat
  • Difficult/painful urination
  • Sores, ulcers, or white marks in the mouth
  • Unusual tiredness/weakness
  • Unusual bleeding/bruising

Less common:

  • Hoarseness
  • Fever with/without chills
  • General feeling of weakness/tiredness

Frequency unknown:

  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bloating
  • Swelling of the feet, lower legs, hands, arms, or face
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain/discomfort
  • Blood in the stools or urine
  • Confusion
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Dark urine
  • Decreased urination
  • Fainting
  • Hives
  • Headache
  • Dilated neck veins
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Lightheadedness, faintness, or dizziness when suddenly getting up on your feet
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased sweating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Nervousness
  • Fast/irregular heartbeat
  • Irritation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irregular breathing
  • Muscle tremors
  • Itching
  • Large, flat, purplish, or blue patches in skin
  • Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness
  • Pounding in ears
  • Painful ankles and knees
  • Red pinpoint spots on skin
  • Rash
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, deep breathing
  • Redness of skin
  • Red raised swelling on skin, ankles, legs, or buttocks
  • Severe vomiting or nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Sneezing
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Spots on the skin looking like a pimple or blister
  • Sweating
  • Sunken eyes
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sugar in urine
  • Sudden troubled breathing or shortness of breath
  • Restlessness
  • Swelling around eyes
  • Thirst
  • Vision changes
  • Trouble with balance
  • Swelling of eyelids, lips, face, feet, or hands
  • Chest tightness
  • Tingling of feet or hands
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Weight gain
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Unusual weight loss or gain
  • Unpleasant breath odor
  • Troubled swallowing or breathing

Some Deferiprone side effects may happen that normally don't require medical care. These effects may vanish during treatment as you get used to Deferiprone. Also, your healthcare specialist may recommend ways to relieve or prevent some of these effects. Please see your healthcare specialist promptly if you suffer any of these effects and they persist, bother you, or you've got questions about them.

More common:

  • Muscle stiffness or pain
  • Difficulty with moving
  • Abdominal/stomach discomfort
  • Reddish/brown discoloration of urine

Less common:

  • Back pain
  • Acid/sour stomach
  • Belching
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the legs or arms
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach upset

Frequency unknown:

  • Restlessness
  • Shuffling walk
  • Severe sunburn
  • Redness/other discoloration of skin
  • Pain in the abdomen, stomach, side, potentially spreading out to the back
  • Muscle stiffness, jerking, or trembling
  • Muscle spasm, particularly of the back and neck
  • Greater sensitivity of skin to sunlight
  • Bloody nose
  • Constipation
  • Grinding, gnashing, or clenching teeth
  • Spitting up or coughing blood
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty with speaking
  • Trouble with opening the mouth
  • Hives or welts
  • Lockjaw
  • Impaired psychomotor skills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of control of balance
  • Unusual drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Stiffness of limbs
  • Stomach bloating, cramping, pain, or burning
  • Twisting movements of body
  • Uncontrolled movements, particularly of the back, neck, or face

This isn't an all-inclusive list of potential Deferiprone side effects. Some people may suffer other side effects not outlined above. Please get in touch with your healthcare provider if you've got any symptom that concerns you while you're using Deferiprone.

Dosage

Before you begin Deferiprone treatment, please read the product manufacturer's information leaflet found inside the pack. You'll get more information about this medication and you will also see a complete list of effects you may experience while taking Deferiprone.

Use Deferiprone exactly as your doctor tells you. The normal dose of this medication depends on body weight. Therefore, your doctor will work out your dose as 25-33 mg per kg of your body weight. You'll take this dose by mouth, thrice a day. Take one dose in the morning, the second around lunchtime and the third in the evening.

You can take Deferiprone with food or without. If you suffer a stomach upset after taking this medicine, take it with meals. People who suffer severe abdominal pain, vomiting, or nausea may find it useful to temporarily reduce the dose. Consult your doctor to determine whether you can take this option if you suffer some side effects.

If you're using other medicines or supplements that contain zinc, aluminum, or iron, allow at least four hours between using Deferiprone and other medicines.

If you're taking Deferiprone solution, measure every dose of the solution with an oral syringe as it provides a more accurate gauge than household teaspoons.

A lot of factors may affect the dose of any drug you require, such as other medications, other medical conditions, and body weight. If your healthcare professional has recommended a different dose to the one(s) mentioned here, consult him or her first before changing your way of taking the medication.

Deferiprone treatment is normally long-term, even though you may need to interrupt your treatment if you suffer an infection. Keep taking the tablets or solution regularly unless you're told otherwise by your doctor.

It is vital to take Deferiprone exactly as your doctor prescribes.

Take this medicine on a regular basis to maximize its benefit. Take it at specific times each day so that you don't forget.

If you develop any flu-like symptoms, a sore throat, or high temperature, please see your doctor straight away for medical advice.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and follow your normal schedule. If it's about time for the next dose, don't take the missed dose but continue with your normal dosing schedule. If you're unsure of what to do next after missing one dose, seek advice from your pharmacist or doctor. Don't take two doses at once to cover for a missed dose.

Symptoms of a Deferiprone overdose may include weak muscles, vision problems, and slowed/unusual movements. If someone you know has overdosed on Deferiprone, and has severe symptoms like troubled breathing or passing out, call 911. You can also call your nearest poison control center straight away. If you're in the US, you can call your nearest poison control agency at 1-800-222-1222. If you live in Canada, you can contact your provincial poison control agency.

Interactions

Deferiprone may interact with any of the substances below:

  • Diclofenac
  • Clobazam
  • Probenecid
  • Magnesium supplements
  • Zinc supplements
  • Multivitamins with minerals
  • Iron supplements (such as ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous fumarate)
  • Calcium supplements (such as calcium citrate, calcium carbonate)
  • Antacids
  • Eltrombopag

If you're using any of the above drugs, speak with your pharmacist or doctor. Based on your specific situation, your healthcare provider may ask you to do the following:

  • style="font-weight: 400;"> Stop using one of the drugs
  • Change one of the drugs to another
  • Change the way you're using one or both drugs
  • Don't change a thing

When two medicines interact with each other, this doesn't always mean you must discontinue one of them. Please ask your healthcare professional about how any medicine interactions should be controlled or if they're being controlled.

Other medications not outlined above can interact with Deferiprone. Make sure to tell your prescriber/doctor about all sorts of medications and herbal products you're using. Also report to your healthcare professional any dietary supplements you use. Since street drugs, alcohol, nicotine from cigarettes, or caffeine can interact with Deferiprone and affect its action, you should inform your healthcare professional if you take any of them.

Warnings

Before taking Deferiprone, be sure to consider the following factors:

Allergies: tell your pharmacist and doctor if you've got allergies to Deferiprone, any of its ingredients, or any other medicines. Check the list of ingredients on the medication guide or ask your pharmacist about the ingredients.

Other medications'tell your pharmacist and doctor what medications (prescription and nonprescription), dietary supplements, and vitamins you're using or want to use. Make sure to mention water pills (diuretics). Your healthcare provider may need to carefully monitor you for side effects or adjust your dose of each medication.

If you're taking zinc or iron supplements, multivitamins, or antacids, take them at least four hours prior to or after using Deferiprone.

Tell your healthcare care what herbal medications you're using, especially milk thistle.

Heart conditions: tell your healthcare professional if you've ever experienced a heart failure, slow heartbeat, long-lasting QT interval (an uncommon heart condition that may lead to fainting, an irregular heartbeat, or sudden death), other heart disorders, liver or kidney disease, or reduced level of magnesium or potassium in your blood.

Surgery: before you have surgery, tell your dentist or doctor about all medication products you take (such as prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, and herbal products).

Infection: Deferiprone can briefly lower the white blood cell count in your blood, making you more likely to suffer an infection. If possible, stay away from people with infections or those who are sick. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid being in rough areas or being in situations where you might be injured, cut, or bruised. Gently floss and brush your teeth. Use sharp objects carefully, including fingernail clippers and razors.

Liver function: Deferiprone can affect your liver function, resulting in unusual liver test results. While you're taking Deferiprone, your healthcare professional may want to perform blood tests and liver function tests on you regularly. This usually means that he or she can detect reduced liver function before it gets too serious. This is especially vital if you suffer from liver disorders, including hepatitis C.

Neurological problems: Deferiprone can cause symptoms associated with the nervous system. Muscle tone loss, abnormal movements, and vision changes have been noticed in children using Deferiprone. If you see any unusual symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor straight away.

Pregnancy: Deferiprone may harm the fetus if the mother takes it during pregnancy. If you conceive while using Deferiprone, make sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Breastfeeding: it's not yet known if Deferiprone comes into contact with human milk. If you're nursing an infant and are using this medicine, it could affect your little one. Breastfeeding is forbidden if you're using this medicine.

Storage

  • Keep Deferiprone at room temperature.
  • Protect Deferiprone from moisture and light.
  • Keep this medicine out of your children's reach.
  • If you're taking the oral Deferiprone solution, safely dispose of any remaining medicine 35 days after uncorking the bottle.
  • Don't dispose of medicines in the toilet or down the sink (wastewater) or in household trash.
  • Consult your pharmacist on how to safely discard expired medicines or ones you no longer need.

Summary

Tell your healthcare specialist about all other drugs you use, especially ones that make the immune system weaker, such as steroids, cancer drugs, and drugs to prevent the rejection of an organ transplant.

Try to honor all of your scheduled appointments with your healthcare provider. This will help your doctor monitor your progress. Your blood will need to be tested regularly on a weekly basis during treatment.

Deferiprone may make your urine turn red or brown. This is a sign of the iron being cleared from your body, so you shouldn't worry about it because it's quite harmless.

If you have to use an indigestion remedy, go for one that doesn't have aluminum. Your healthcare provider will tell you which antacids, as well as other medications, are right for you to purchase over the counter (without a prescription).

While you're using Deferiprone, you mustn't get pregnant. Please make sure to discuss with your healthcare professional which kinds of contraception are right for you as well as your partner.

If you're scheduled to have any dental treatment or an operation, always tell the healthcare professional attending to you which medications you're using.

Don't take other iron chelating medications such as Deferoxamine (Desferal) or Deferasirox (Exjade), unless your healthcare provider tells you to.

Stop using Deferiprone at once and give your doctor a call if you have these signs of infection: chills, fever, flu symptoms, body aches, or mouth and throat sores.

Don't give anyone else Deferiprone, even if they display symptoms like yours. It may be dangerous for anyone to use Deferiprone if their healthcare professional hasn't prescribed it.

Deferiprone should not be used by anyone under the age of 18.

Your doctor may suggest Deferiprone for other conditions not discussed in this medication guide. If you haven't talked about this with your physician or aren't sure why you're using Deferiprone, consult him or her. Also consult your doctor before you stop using this medicine.