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deferoxamine

Pronunciation: de fer OX a meen

Brand: Desferal

What is the most important information I should know about deferoxamine?

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to deferoxamine, if you have severe kidney disease, or if you are unable to urinate.

Before using deferoxamine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, vision or hearing problems, asthma or other breathing disorder, low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia), or a parathyroid disorder.

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Your doctor may tell you to take a vitamin C supplement after you have been using deferoxamine for 1 month. Follow your doctor's instructions about how much vitamin C to take and when to start taking it. Using too much vitamin C while you are using deferoxamine can cause heart problems. Do not take vitamin C supplements without your doctor's advice if you have heart failure.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your kidney and heart function will need to be tested often. You may also need eye exams. Do not miss any follow up visits to your doctor for blood tests or eye exams.

Long-term use of deferoxamine can slow a child's growth. Tell your doctor if the child using this medication is not growing or gaining weight properly. A doctor should check the child's growth every 3 months.

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This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

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If you need to have any type of x-ray or CT scan using a dye that is injected into a vein, you may need to temporarily stop using deferoxamine. Be sure the doctor knows ahead of time that you are using this medication.

What is deferoxamine?

Deferoxamine binds to iron and removes it from the blood stream.

Deferoxamine is used to treat iron overload caused by blood transfusions in adults and children at least 3 years old.

Deferoxamine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using deferoxamine?

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to deferoxamine, if you have severe kidney disease, or if you are unable to urinate.

To make sure you can safely use deferoxamine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • heart disease;
  • liver disease;
  • vision or hearing problems;
  • asthma or other breathing disorder;
  • low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia); or
  • a parathyroid disorder.
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If you need to have any type of x-ray or CT scan using a dye that is injected into a vein, you may need to temporarily stop using deferoxamine. Be sure the doctor knows ahead of time that you are using this medication.

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FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether deferoxamine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

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It is not known whether deferoxamine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Long-term use of deferoxamine can slow a child's growth. Tell your doctor if the child using this medication is not growing or gaining weight properly.

How should I use deferoxamine?

Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Deferoxamine is sometimes injected into a vein through an IV. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and may be given for several hours in a row.

Deferoxamine is also sometimes injected into a muscle using an infusion pump.

You may be shown how to use deferoxamine at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other equipment used in giving the medicine.

Deferoxamine must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before injecting it. The mixed solution should be clear with a colorless or slightly yellow appearance.

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Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has any particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

It is best to use deferoxamine within 3 hours after mixing it, but you must use it within 24 hours. Throw away the medicine if it has been longer than 24 hours since it was mixed with the liquid.

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Your doctor may tell you to take a vitamin C supplement after you have been using deferoxamine for 1 month. Follow your doctor's instructions about how much vitamin C to take and when to start taking it. Using too much vitamin C while you are using deferoxamine can cause heart problems.

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Do not take vitamin C supplements without your doctor's advice if you have heart failure.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your kidney and heart function will need to be tested often. You may also need eye exams. Do not miss any follow up visits to your doctor for blood tests or eye exams.

If a child is using deferoxamine, a doctor should check the child's growth every 3 months. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your child's doctor.

Each dose of this medication is for one use only. Throw away any mixed medicine that is leftover after giving the injection.

Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

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Store unmixed deferoxamine at room temperature. You may store mixed medicine at room temperature for up to 24 hours, but do not refrigerate it.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since deferoxamine is used as needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule. Call your doctor promptly if your symptoms do not improve after using deferoxamine.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include slow or fast heart rate, stomach discomfort, headache, problems with speech or vision, pale skin, feeling drowsy or agitated, urinating less than usual, confusion, feeling short of breath, or fainting.

What should I avoid while using deferoxamine?

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This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

What are the possible side effects of deferoxamine?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; joint or muscle pain; fever; headache; nausea or vomiting; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Stop using deferoxamine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • cough, wheezing, gasping, or other breathing problems;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • drowsiness, confusion, mood changes, increased thirst, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting;
  • swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • hearing problems;
  • blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • fast heartbeats;
  • blue lips, skin, or fingernails;
  • severe, watery, bloody diarrhea with cramping;
  • stuffy nose, fever, redness or swelling around your nose and eyes, scabbing inside your nose;
  • stomach or back pain, coughing up blood;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness; or
  • leg cramps, bone problems, or growth changes (in a child using this medication).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, ringing in your ears;
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
  • mild itching or skin rash;
  • numbness or burning pain anywhere in the body;
  • mild diarrhea, nausea, or upset stomach;
  • reddish colored urine; or
  • pain, burning, swelling, redness, irritation, or a hard lump where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect deferoxamine?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro) or a vitamin C supplement.

There may be other drugs that can interact with deferoxamine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about deferoxamine.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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