Liver iron and fibrosis during long-term treatment with deferiprone in Swiss thalassaemic patients

Br J Haematol. 1998 Jun;101(3):413-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.1998.00725.x.


Serum ferritin levels, hepatic histology and iron concentration were studied in a 'veteran' group of seven Swiss beta-thalassaemic patients after 93-99 months of treatment with the oral iron chelator deferiprone (L1), and another four patients who had received 54-82 months of L1 therapy. Despite continuous compliance, unexplained resurgence of serum ferritin levels occurred in 4/7 patients of the 'veteran' group after 4-5 years on L1. In three of these a concomitant increase of liver iron was also observed. Hepatic histology revealed significantly higher degrees of fibrosis in 6/11 hepatitis C (HC)-positive patients (fibrosis scores 1-5, mean 3.0) than in the HC-negative group (fibrosis score 0-2, mean 0.8). Two HC-negative patients had no detectable fibrosis after 98 and 93 months on deferiprone. Therefore the hepatic pathology in these patients cannot definitely be attributed as a side-effect of deferiprone. Chronic active hepatitis C and the accumulation of iron are the major causative factors to be considered.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Deferiprone
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / pathology
  • Humans
  • Iron Chelating Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / blood*
  • Long-Term Care
  • Pyridones / therapeutic use*
  • beta-Thalassemia / drug therapy*
  • beta-Thalassemia / pathology


  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Pyridones
  • Deferiprone
  • Ferritins