A systematic review and meta-analysis of deferiprone monotherapy and in combination with deferoxamine for reduction of iron overload in chronically transfused patients with β-thalassemia.

β-Thalassemia major (β-TM) patients require life-long blood transfusions, resulting in iron overload with multi-organ morbidity and mortality. Evidence from small randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published to date for deferiprone (DFP) monotherapy or in combination with deferoxamine (DFO) is unclear. We summarized evidence on the efficacy of DFP monotherapy compared to DFO, and DFP-DFO combination therapy compared to DFP or DFO monotherapy in chronically transfused β-TM. We searched four electronic databases and examined the grey literature. Two authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. We calculated the relative risk for dichotomous outcomes and mean difference (MD) for continuous outcomes. We identified 15 RCTs (1003 participants) that met the inclusion criteria. Deferiprone was more efficacious than DFO in improving cardiac ejection fraction [MD 2.88, 95% CI (95% confidence interval) 1.12 to 4.64, p = 0.001) and endocrine dysfunction (MD 0.09, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.10, p < 0.00001). The DFP-DFO combination therapy was more efficacious than DFP or DFO monotherapy in improving cardiac ejection fraction (MD 5.67, 95% CI 1.32 to 10.02, p = 0.008). There was no significant difference in all other outcomes examined. Meta-analysis on changes in myocardial iron content was not possible due to differences in data presentation. The quality of evidence for all outcomes was low. There is currently insufficient evidence to show that DFP is superior to DFO in the treatment of iron overload. The use of DFP must be weighed against the potential side-effects, patient compliance and preference. Large RCTs with clinically relevant outcomes are required.
AuthorsKevin H M Kuo, Marko Mrkobrada
JournalHemoglobin (Hemoglobin) Vol. 38 Issue 6 Pg. 409-21 ( 2014) ISSN: 1532-432X [Electronic] England
PMID25307964 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Meta-Analysis, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
Chemical References
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Pyridones
  • deferiprone
  • Deferoxamine
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Deferoxamine (therapeutic use)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron Chelating Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Iron Overload (blood, etiology, physiopathology, prevention & control)
  • Male
  • Pyridones (therapeutic use)
  • beta-Thalassemia (blood, physiopathology, therapy)

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