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Brand Name: Deferal
Dosage form: injectable powder for injection (2 g; 500 mg)
Drug classes: antidotes, chelating agents

What is Deferoxamine?

Iron is removed from the bloodstream by deferoxamine. Deferoxamine can be used for acute (immediate) iron overdoses. The treatment of chronic iron overload due to repeated blood transfusions is also possible with deferoxamine. This medication guide does not list all possible uses of deferoxamine.

Side effects of Deferoxamine

When experiencing symptoms of allergy reactions, seek medical assistance immediately: difficulty breathing, hives or swelling on lips, face throat or tongue.

Deferoxamine may cause serious side effects. If you experience:

  • Blurred vision; poor night vision; trouble seeing colors
  • Eye pain or a cloudy appearance
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Hearing problems, ringing in the ears
  • A feeling of lightheadedness, as if you could pass out.
  • Little or no urine;
  • Rapid or short breathing
  • Fever;
  • Severe, bleeding, watery diarrhea, with cramps;
  • Flushing (a sudden feeling of warmth, redness, or tingle);
  • Stuffy nose: fever; redness and swelling in the area around your eyes or nose. Scratching inside the nose
  • Muscle weakness and bone pain
  • Seizure;
  • Confidence is a problem with memory or speech.

Some side effects are more common in elderly adults. Deferoxamine is a long-term drug that can have an impact on growth. If your child's growth isn't normal while taking deferoxamine, tell your doctor.

Deferoxamine can cause a number of side effects.

  • Reddish-colored urine
  • Muscle Spasm
  • Numbness, tingling, burning pain;
  • Unusual bruising and bleeding
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • Dizziness;
  • Itching or blistering

There may be other side effects. Call your physician immediately if experiencing side effects; and report these effects through calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

Similar/related drugs



This medicine should not be used if your kidneys are severely damaged or you cannot urinate.

Before you take this drug

Deferoxamine should not be used if:

  • Severe kidney disease
  • If you're unable to urinate,

If you've ever:

  • Kidney disease or dialysis (if applicable)
  • Heart Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hearing or vision problems
  • Asthma or another breathing disorder
  • Low levels of calcium (hypocalcemia) in the blood
  • A parathyroid disorder.

You may have to stop temporarily using deferoxamine if you are going to undergo an x-ray, CT scan, or any other type of test that uses a dye injected directly into your vein. Make sure your doctor is aware that you're taking deferoxamine. Inform your doctor of any pregnancy or breastfeeding. Deferoxamine should not be used by children younger than three years of age.

How to take Deferoxamine?

Follow all instructions or guides included with your medication, and adhere to any specific directions on its prescription label. Deferoxamine may be administered directly into muscles. Or you can administer the drug over 8-24 hours using an infusion device connected with needle and placed under your skin; you may receive instructions on how to take this medicine from a healthcare professional. Please read and carefully follow all directions provided with your medication. If there are any confusions in these directions, seek assistance from either your pharmacist or physician for clarification. Deferoxamine should be mixed in a liquid before use. If you are using the injections yourself, make sure that you know how to mix and store them.

Only prepare an injection when you're ready to administer it. Deferoxamine should be used within three hours of mixing. If the medication has changed color or contains particles, do not take it. For new medication, call your pharmacist. If it's been more than 24 hours, throw away the medication. You may be told by your doctor to take vitamin C supplements. You should follow all directions regarding how much and when you need to take vitamin C. Too much vitamin C can lead to heart problems if you use deferoxamine. If you suffer from heart failure, do not take vitamin C without consulting your doctor. Medical tests will be required frequently. Eye exams may be required. A doctor must check a child's height every three months if they are taking deferoxamine. Deferoxamine should only be used once. After injecting the medicine, throw away all leftover mixed medications. Store deferoxamine at room temperature. Store mixed medicines at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Do not put them in the refrigerator. Only use a needle or syringe once, and place it in the "sharps container" to prevent punctures. Be sure to follow local or state laws on how you should dispose of the container. It should be kept out of the reach of pets and children.

What happens if I miss the dose?

If you forget to take a dosage, call your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

Call 1-800-222-1222 for poison help or seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms of an overdose may include a slow or rapid heart rate, nausea or stomach discomfort, a headache, or pale skin. Other signs and symptoms can include confusion, difficulty with speech or vision, feeling sleepy, being agitated or confused, urinating more than normal, or fainting.

What should be avoided?

Deferoxamine can affect your reaction to driving and other hazardous activities. You may be unable to react properly.

Interaction with other drug

Inform your doctor of all other medications, including:

  • Prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro);
  • A vitamin C supplement.

The list below is not exhaustive. Deferoxamine may be affected by other drugs, such as vitamins and herbs. This list does not include all possible interactions with other drugs.