Deferiprone is used to remove excess iron in the body in people who have received a large number of blood transfusions to treat thalassemia (an inherited condition that causes a low number of red blood cells) and who have not benefitted enough from other treatments for excess iron. Deferiprone is in a class of medications called iron chelators. It works by attaching to iron in the body so that it can be excreted (removed from the body).

Side Effects Of Deferiprone

Deferiprone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • heartburn
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • weight gain
  • pain in the arms, legs, back, or joints
  • headache
  • red or brown discoloration of urine

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • reddish-purple spots or rash, especially on the lower half of the body
  • hives
  • swelling around the eyes
  • fast or pounding heartbeat
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • seizures

Deferiprone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking deferiprone:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to deferiprone, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in deferiprone tablets. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention diuretics (water pills). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • if you are taking antacids, multivitamins, or iron or zinc supplements, take them 4 hours before or 4 hours after you take deferiprone.
  • tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially milk thistle.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a prolonged QT interval (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death), a slow heartbeat, heart failure or other heart problems, a low level of potassium or magnesium in your blood, or kidney or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You should use birth control so that you will not become pregnant during your treatment with deferiprone. Talk to your doctor about which method of birth control you should use. If you become pregnant while taking deferiprone, call your doctor immediately. Deferiprone may harm the fetus.

Dosage Of Deferiprone

Deferiprone comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken three times a day, in the morning, at mid-day, and in the evening. Deferiprone may be taken with or without food, but taking it with meals may help to prevent nausea that may be caused by the medication. Take deferiprone at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take deferiprone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

If your dose includes half of a tablet, split a tablet carefully on the score mark.

Your doctor may adjust your dose of deferiprone every 2 to 3 months depending on your laboratory test results.


Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order lab tests to check your body’s response to deferiprone.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.