Take deferiprone three times daily.
Your urine is likely to turn a reddish-brown colour but this is nothing to worry about.
If you develop any flu-like symptoms or a sore throat, see a doctor straightaway.
|Type of medicine||Iron chelator|
|Used for||Iron overload in thalassaemia major|
|Available as||Tablets and oral liquid|
Thalassaemia is a genetic (inherited) condition affecting the blood. In thalassaemia, part of a chemical called haemoglobin is faulty. Haemoglobin is the part of your red blood cells which carries oxygen and gives your blood its red colour. As a result of a genetic change, there is not enough normal haemoglobin in your blood and you become anaemic. Some people need blood transfusions of normal red blood cells to treat this anaemia.
As a result of having regular blood transfusions (and also because your condition makes your body absorb a lot of iron from food) you can get overloaded with iron. Deferiprone is a chelation treatment, which means that it helps your body to get rid of excess iron. It works by combining with the extra iron to form a complex which your body can remove.
Before taking deferiprone
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking deferiprone it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have ever been told you have a low number of white blood cells.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take deferiprone
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about deferiprone and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take it exactly as your doctor has told you. Your dose will depend upon how much you weigh so your doctor will tell you how many tablets or how much medicine to take. This will also be printed on the label of the pack to remind you. You will be asked to take a dose three times daily. Take your first dose in the morning, your second dose around lunchtime, and your third dose in the evening. You can take deferiprone before or after meals.
- Treatment with deferiprone is usually long-term. Continue to take it regularly unless you are advised otherwise.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If, when you remember, it is nearly time for your next dose, leave out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Your doctor will want you to have blood tests each week during this treatment.
- Deferiprone may cause your urine to turn a red/brown colour. This is the iron being removed from your body and is nothing for you to worry about as it is quite harmless.
- If you need to take an indigestion remedy, choose one that does not contain aluminium. Your pharmacist will be able to give you advice about which antacids and other medicines are suitable for you.
- You should not become pregnant while you are taking deferiprone. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you.
- If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Can deferiprone cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Very common deferiprone side-effects - these affect more than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain||Try taking deferiprone after eating some food if you are not already doing so|
|Red/brown coloured urine||This is harmless|
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Feeling tired, increased appetite||If either of these becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: other side-effects may occur such as a reduced white blood cell count and an increase in liver enzymes. Your doctor will do regular blood tests to check for these, but if at any time you develop a high temperature, flu-like symptoms or a sore throat, you should let your doctor know about this as soon as possible.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store deferiprone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
- Manufacturer's PIL, Ferriprox® 500 mg film-coated tablets; Swedish Orphan Biovitrum Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 31/10/2012||Document ID: 3722 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.