Desferal Side Effects
Generic name: deferoxamine
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 17, 2023.
Note: This document contains side effect information about deferoxamine. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Desferal.
Applies to deferoxamine: injection powder for solution.
Serious side effects of Desferal
Along with its needed effects, deferoxamine (the active ingredient contained in Desferal) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking deferoxamine:
- Bluish fingernails, lips, or skin
- blurred vision or other problems with vision
- convulsions (seizures)
- difficulty with breathing or fast breathing
- fast heartbeat
- hearing problems
- redness or flushing of the skin
- difficult urination
- leg cramps
- stomach and muscle cramps
- stomach discomfort
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Incidence not known
- decreased urine output
- difficulty with swallowing
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- muscle twitching
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- rapid weight gain
- shortness of breath
- skin rash
- swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Other side effects of Desferal
Some side effects of deferoxamine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to deferoxamine: injectable powder for injection.
The most common adverse events were injection site reactions (pain, swelling, infiltration, erythema, pruritus, eschar/crust), and arthralgia/myalgia.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Pain, swelling, infiltration, erythema, pruritus, eschar/crust at the injection site
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vesicles, local edema, local burning[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Arthralgia/myalgia
Common (1% to 10%): Growth retardation, bone disorder (e.g. metaphyseal dysplasia)
Frequency not reported: Muscle spasms, leg cramps, transient bone pain, hyperparathyroid bone disease[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Nausea
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vomiting, abdominal pain
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Diarrhea[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Urticaria
Common (1% to 10%): Headache
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Neurological disturbances, dizziness, precipitation/exacerbation of aluminum-related dialysis encephalopathy (e.g. grand mal seizures, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, dialysis dementia), neuropathy peripheral, paresthesia
Frequency not reported: Convulsion[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia
Rare (less than 0.1%): Deafness neurosensory, tinnitus
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Asthma
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Acute respiratory distress, lung infiltration[Ref]
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Blood disorders (e.g. thrombocytopenia, leucopenia, eosinophilia)
Frequency not reported: Inhibition of DNA synthesis in T and B lymphocytes[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Cardiac arrhythmias[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Reddish-brown discoloration of the urine, dysuria[Ref]
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Mucormycosis
Rare (less than 0.1%): Loss of vision, scotoma, retinal degeneration, optic neuritis, cataracts, decreased visual acuity, blurred vision, night blindness, visual field defects, chromatopsia, corneal opacities[Ref]
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Renal impairment (including a rise in serum creatinine)
Frequency not reported: Impaired hepatic function, increased transaminases[Ref]
More about Desferal (deferoxamine)
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Related treatment guides
1. Product Information. Desferal (deferoxamine). Novartis Pharmaceuticals. 2001.
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. UK Summary of Product Characteristics.
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. Australian Product Information.
4. Product Information. Deferoxamine Mesylate (deferoxamine). Hospira Inc. 2015.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.