Long-term efficacy of deferoxamine iron chelation therapy in adults with acquired transfusional iron overload
Transfusional iron overload in adult patients with acquired anemias may result in widespread organ dysfunction. Long-term deferoxamine mesylate therapy was administered by continuous subcutaneous infusion to six such patients, who have been followed up for up to 66 months of therapy while continuing to be transfusion-dependent. During deferoxamine therapy, liver density by computed tomographic scan decreased in four of five patients, liver iron content decreased in two of three patients, and liver function normalized in two patients. Plasma cortisol response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia improved in three of five patients receiving therapy. Pituitary growth hormone reserve normalized in two patients and remained normal in the other three tested. One patient, treated concurrently with ascorbic acid, died suddenly. The other five patients have had no cardiac deterioration by noninvasive testing. We conclude that long-term deferoxamine iron chelation therapy is effective not only in retarding but, in some cases, even reversing organ damage caused by transfusional iron overload.