Deferasirox: A Review of Its Use for Chronic Iron Overload in Patients with Non-Transfusion-Dependent Thalassaemia

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Abstract

Deferasirox (Exjade®) is a once-daily orally administered iron chelator which has been approved for use in the treatment of transfusional-dependent chronic iron overload since 2005. Based primarily on the findings of the THALASSA (Assessment of Exjade® in Non-Transfusion-Dependent THALASSemiA) trial, the approval for deferasirox has recently been expanded to include the management of chronic iron overload in patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassaemia (NTDT) syndromes. Despite the lack of regular blood transfusions, NTDT patients can still develop clinically relevant iron overload, primarily due to increased gastrointestinal absorption secondary to ineffective erythropoiesis, and may require chelation therapy. The THALASSA trial, the first placebo-controlled clinical trial of an iron chelator in NTDT patients, demonstrated that deferasirox was effective in reducing liver iron and serum ferritin levels in this population. Deferasirox has an acceptable tolerability profile, with the most common adverse events reported in the THALASSA trial being related to mild to moderate gastrointestinal disorders. Although further long-term studies will be required to clearly demonstrate the clinical benefit of chelation therapy in NTDT patients, deferasirox presents a useful tool in the management of iron overload in this population.

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