Thalassaemia major is a genetic disease characterised by a reduced ability to produce haemoglobin. Management of the resulting anaemia is through transfusions of red blood cells.
Repeated transfusions results in excessive accumulation of iron in the body (iron overload), removal of which is achieved through iron chelation therapy. Desferrioxamine is the most widely used iron chelator. Substantial data have shown the beneficial effects of desferrioxamine. However, important questions exist about whether desferrioxamine is the best schedule for iron chelation therapy.