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What Is Deferasirox?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Deferasirox is a medication that may be prescribed for a patient with an iron overload disorder, where there is too much iron in the body, and the patient experiences adverse health effects as a result. This drug is an oral chelating agent. It binds to iron in a format the body can express through the feces. It is possible to experience severe side effects while on this medication, and it is important for patients to report any side effects to a doctor for evaluation and discussion.

Patients receive deferasirox in the format of tablets for suspension. To take the medication, they need to drop the tablets into a container of liquid and allow them to completely dissolve. After drinking the liquid, they may want to take some plain water or juice, as the deferasirox suspension can feel thick and gritty, and may leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Usually only one daily dose is necessary.

Some common deferasirox side effects include headache, fever, nausea, and diarrhea. Patients on this medication are at an increased risk of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and they should report symptoms like severe abdominal pain, bloody vomit or stool, or intense abdominal cramping. The drug can also cause liver and kidney damage. A doctor may request periodic blood work for the purpose of checking the patient's kidney and liver function. If levels are abnormal, it may be necessary to use a different drug.

Iron chelation may be necessary when a patient receives large transfusions of blood or has a storage disorder that makes it difficult to eliminate iron from the body. Before recommending deferasirox or other measures for chelation, a doctor will conduct a thorough patient evaluation, including blood tests to see how much iron is present. It is important to provide a thorough medical history, as a patient may have increased risk factors that would make this medication a poor choice.

If a patient misses a dose of deferasirox, she should not double up at the next dose. Patients who vomit after taking the drug can contact their doctors or pharmacists to discuss whether they should take a second dose, or wait until the next dose. It is important to take only the recommended amount. Taking more will not express the extra iron faster, but it will increase the risks of internal bleeding and other complications. It is advisable to inform health-care providers if a patient is on this medication, as this may have an impact on diagnosis and treatment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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