Desferal

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/11/2021
Desferal Side Effects Center

What Is Desferal?

Desferal (deferoxamine mesylate) is an iron-chelating agent used to treat iron overload caused by blood transfusions in adults and children at least 3 years old. Desferal is available in generic form.

What Are Side Effects of Desferal?

Common side effects of Desferal include:

  • injection site reactions (pain, swelling, burning, redness, irritation, or a hard lump),
  • blurred vision,
  • dizziness,
  • ringing in your ears,
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling),
  • itching or skin rash,
  • numbness or burning pain anywhere in the body,
  • diarrhea,
  • nausea,
  • upset stomach, or
  • reddish colored urine.

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Desferal including:

Dosage for Desferal?

The preferred administration of Desferal is intramuscularly (IM) but it may also be administered intravenously (IV). The initial dose of Desferal is 1000 mg. This may be followed by 500 mg every 4 hours for two doses. Depending upon the clinical response, subsequent doses of 500 mg may be administered every 4-12 hours. The total amount administered should not exceed 6000 mg in 24 hours.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Desferal?

Desferal may interact with prochlorperazine (Compazine) or a vitamin C supplement. Other drugs may affect Desferal. Tell your doctor all the prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you use.

Desferal During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

During pregnancy, Desferal should be used only when prescribed. It is unknown whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Desferal (deferoxamine mesylate) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

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.

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Desferal Consumer Information

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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • blurred vision, poor night vision, trouble seeing colors, trouble with side (peripheral) vision, seeing halos around lights;
  • eye pain, or a cloudy appearance in the eye;
  • pain behind your eyes;
  • ringing in your ears, hearing problems;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • little or no urination;
  • shortness of breath or rapid breathing;
  • fever;
  • severe, watery, bloody diarrhea with cramping;
  • flushing (sudden warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
  • stuffy nose, fever, redness or swelling around your nose and eyes, scabbing inside your nose;
  • muscle weakness, bone pain;
  • seizure; o
  • confusion, problems with speech or memory.

Some side effects may be more likely in older adults.

Long-term use of deferoxamine can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medicine.

Common side effects may include:

  • reddish colored urine;
  • muscle spasm;
  • numbness, tingling, burning pain;
  • unusual bruising or bleeding;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • dizziness; or
  • pain, burning, swelling, redness, rash, itching, blistering, scarring, 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.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Desferal (Deferoxamine)

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Desferal Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

The following adverse reactions have been observed, but there are not enough data to support an estimate of their frequency.

At the Injection Site: Localized irritation, pain, burning, swelling, induration, infiltration, pruritus, erythema, wheal formation, eschar, crust, vesicles, local edema. Injection site reactions may be associated with systemic allergic reactions (see Body As A Whole, below).

Hypersensitivity Reactions and Systemic Allergic Reactions: Generalized rash, urticaria, anaphylactic reaction with or without shock, angioedema

Body as a Whole: Local injection site reactions may be accompanied by systemic reactions like arthralgia, fever, headache, myalgia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or asthma.

Infections with Yersinia and Mucormycosis have been reported in association with Desferal use (see PRECAUTIONS).

Cardiovascular: Tachycardia, hypotension, shock

Digestive: Abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting

Hematologic: Blood dyscrasia (thrombocytopenia, leucopenia)

Hepatic: Increased transaminases, hepatic dysfunction

Musculoskeletal: Muscle spasms. Growth retardation and bone changes (e.g., metaphyseal dysplasia) are common in chelated patients given doses above 60 mg/kg, especially those who begin iron chelation in the first three years of life. If doses are kept to 40 mg/kg or below, the risk may be reduced (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS/Pediatric Use).

Nervous System: Neurological disturbances including dizziness, peripheral sensory, motor, or mixed neuropathy, paresthesias, seizures; exacerbation or precipitation of aluminum-related dialysis encephalopathy (see PATIENT INFORMATION).

Special Senses: High-frequency sensorineural hearing loss and/or tinnitus are uncommon if dosage guidelines are not exceeded and if dose is reduced when ferritin levels decline. Visual disturbances are rare if dosage guidelines are not exceeded. These may include decreased acuity, blurred vision, loss of vision, dyschromatopsia, night blindness, visual field defects, scotoma, retinopathy (pigmentary degeneration), optic neuritis, and cataracts (see WARNINGS).

Respiratory: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (with dyspnea, cyanosis, and/or interstitial infiltrates) (see WARNINGS)

Skin: Very rare generalized rash

Urogenital: Dysuria, acute renal failure, increased serum creatinine and renal tubular disorders (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS)

Postmarketing Reports

There are postmarketing reports of deferoxamine-associated renal dysfunction, including renal failure. Monitor patients for changes in renal function (e.g., increased serum creatinine).

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Desferal (Deferoxamine)

© Desferal Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Desferal Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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