Deferasirox is an oral iron-chelating agent taken once-daily by patients with transfusion-dependent iron overload. However, some patients are unresponsive or unable to tolerate once-daily deferasirox. The current study evaluated whether twice-daily deferasirox treatment showed increased efficacy or tolerability in unresponsive or intolerant patients.
Patients from two Taiwanese hospitals with transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia, including those who showed increasing serum ferritin levels for six consecutive months, with at least one level >2,500 ng/dl, while treated with >30 mg/kg/day of once-daily deferasirox (unresponsive) or developed deferasirox-related adverse events (AEs) at the dosage required to maintain the iron burden balance (intolerant) and were treated twice-daily with the same total daily dose of deferasirox since 2008, were enrolled in the study and evaluated retrospectively by medical record review.
Eighteen patients were included for analysis. A statistically significant median decrease in serum ferritin levels was detected in the 11 unresponsive patients after 6 months of continuous twice-daily deferasirox treatment. Five out of the seven intolerant patients experienced either no deferasirox-related AEs or less severe AEs. The 12 patients from both groups (11 unresponsive, 1 intolerant) who received continuous twice-daily deferasirox for 6 months showed a mild but significant median increase in serum creatinine levels.
Twice-daily deferasirox dosing is effective in iron chelation and improves tolerability in transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia patients who are unresponsive to or intolerant of once-daily deferasirox. Future studies with greater patient numbers will be required to confirm the results reported herein. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2011;56:420–424. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.