Original Article

Annals of Hematology

, Volume 84, Issue 7, pp 434-440

First online:

Deferiprone as an oral iron chelator in sickle cell disease

  • Ersi VoskaridouAffiliated withThalassemia Center, Laikon General Hospital Email author 
  • , Maroussa DouskouAffiliated withBioiatriki Medical Center
  • , Evangelos TerposAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Research, 251 General Airforce Hospital
  • , Alexandra StamoulakatouAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Biochemistry and Hematology, Laboratory of Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital
  • , John MeletisAffiliated withFirst Department of Internal Medicine, Laikon General Hospital, University of Athens School of Medicine
  • , Akis OurailidisAffiliated withBioiatriki Medical Center
  • , Ioannis PapassotiriouAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Biochemistry and Hematology, Laboratory of Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital
  • , Dimitris LoukopoulosAffiliated withFoundation for Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Iron overload is not uncommon in sickle cell disease (SCD) and requires regular chelation therapy in several instances. The present study evaluates the effect of deferiprone in 15 adult patients with SCD (ten βs0thalassemia and five βss) and iron overload. Deferiprone was given at a dose of 75 mg/kg daily for 12 months. The evaluation considered pre- and post-treatment values of serum ferritin, urinary iron excretion, and T2 values of liver and heart obtained by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Eleven patients had a liver biopsy prior to starting therapy to evaluate iron concentration (LIC). Twelve patients completed the study with satisfactory compliance. In ten of them (83.3%) the serum ferritin levels decreased significantly at the end of the trial; in eight patients (66.6%) the reduction of serum ferritin was accompanied by a significant increase of their liver T2 values. All patients had a significant increase of urinary iron excretion in response to the drug. Ferritin levels and liver T2 values correlated with liver iron concentration; on the contrary, ferritin levels and liver T2 values failed to show any correlation with heart T2 values. Heart T2 values did not also show any correlation with left ventricular ejection fraction. Deferiprone was well tolerated and did not cause any significant adverse effects. These results suggest that deferiprone may effectively decrease the iron deposition in patients with SCD; moreover, T2 MRI proves to be a reliable and rapid, noninvasive method for assessing the liver iron load in patients with SCD.


Sickle cell disease Deferiprone Iron overload Magnetic resonance imaging Liver