May 25, 2017
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Desferal Patient Information including How Should I Take

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

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.

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.

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.

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 (Desferal)?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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