Desferal

Generic Name: deferoxamine (de-fer-OX-a-meen)
Brand Name: Desferal

Desferal is used for:

Treating acute iron poisoning and chronic iron overload caused by anemias that require frequent blood transfusions.

Desferal is an iron-chelating agent. It works by binding to excess iron in the blood so that it can be removed from the body.

Do NOT use Desferal if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Desferal
  • you have severe kidney problems or you are unable to urinate

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using Desferal:

Some medical conditions may interact with Desferal. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have brain or kidney problems, heart failure, a certain blood disorder (thalassemia), hearing problems, vision or eye problems, or low blood ferritin levels
  • if you have a certain disease that increases the amount of iron your body absorbs from your diet (primary hemochromatosis)
  • if you are on dialysis
  • if you take vitamin C

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Desferal. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Prochlorperazine because loss of consciousness may occur

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Desferal may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Desferal:

Use Desferal as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Desferal is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using Desferal at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Desferal. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use Desferal if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Desferal, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Desferal.

Important safety information:

  • Desferal may cause dizziness or changes in vision or hearing. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Desferal with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do NOT use more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Do not take large doses of vitamin C without first checking with your doctor.
  • Desferal may turn your urine a reddish color. This is normal and not a cause for concern.
  • Certain infections (eg, Yersinia infections, mucormycosis) have rarely occurred in patients who take Desferal. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of infection (eg, chills, cough, diarrhea, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, stomach pain, weakness).
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Desferal before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Desferal may interfere with certain lab imaging tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are using Desferal. You may need to stop Desferal before you have certain types of imaging tests. Check with your doctor if you have questions.
  • Lab tests, including eye exams, hearing, and kidney function, may be performed while you use Desferal. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Desferal with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially hearing loss or vision problems.
  • Desferal may affect weight and growth rate in CHILDREN in some cases. The weight and growth of CHILDREN receiving Desferal should be monitored every 3 months.
  • Use Desferal with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 3 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Desferal while you are pregnant. It is not known if Desferal is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Desferal, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Desferal:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; dizziness; headache; mild stomach pain; nausea; stomach upset; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); bluish skin or nails; burning, numbness, or tingling; change in the amount of urine produced; difficult or painful urination; fainting; fast heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; flushing of the skin; hearing changes (eg, loss of hearing); muscle or joint pain; muscle spasms; pain, burning, swelling, blistering, or redness at the injection site; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness; shortness of breath; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, loss of appetite, severe stomach pain, unusual tiredness, yellowing of the eyes or skin); unusual bruising or bleeding; vision changes (eg, blurred vision, night blindness).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include agitation; change in the amount of urine produced; coma; fast or slow heartbeat; paleness; severe or persistent dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, or vomiting; trouble speaking; vision changes.

Proper storage of Desferal:

Desferal is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Desferal at home, store Desferal as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Desferal out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Desferal, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Desferal is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Desferal or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Desferal. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Desferal. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Desferal.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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