Iron chelation therapy using deferoxamine or deferiprone (L1) is effective for the treatment of most transfused iron-loaded patients. The combination administration of deferiprone in the daytime and deferoxamine in the night appears to be universally effective in rapidly achieving negative iron balance. The cardiac iron removal effect of deferiprone increases the prospects of longer survival in beta-thalassaemia patients. New chelators have reached the stage of clinical development such as deferitrin, 1-allyl-2-methyl-3-hydroxypyrid-4-one (L1NAll) and the starch deferoxamine polymers. Deferasirox has received a conditional approval in the US under the FDA-accelerated approval regulations, but needs further verification of its efficacy and safety. Future iron chelation therapies are likely to be based on combinations of chelating drugs.