We report our experience with deferiprone (L1) (DFP) in 17 thalassemic patients, followed up in one center in Lebanon, who were initially on desferrioxamine and then shifted to DFP at a dose of 50–75 mg/kg/day as the sole chelator during 1-year follow-up. All 17 patients were compliant with therapy and there was no change in physical examination over the study period. Eight patients (47.1%) were positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies. Urinary iron excretion was 21.8 ± 14 mg/24 h (mean ± SD) 1 week after starting DFP and dropped 12 months later to 13 ± 7.4 mg/24 h (p = 0.009, paired t test). The initial serum ferritin level was 3,863 ± 2,344 μg/l which dropped to 3,179 ± 2,075 at 12 months after starting therapy (p = 0.07). HCV-negative patients as a group exhibited a significant decrease in serum ferritin after 6 and 12 months of DFP therapy (3,942 ± 2,739 vs. 2,341 ± 1,179 and 2,681 ± 1,519 μg/l; p < 0.03 and p < 0.05, respectively). The most frequent side effects were joint pain, stiffness or swelling in 6 patients (35.3%), and nausea in 7 patients (41.2%), but these were well tolerated and did not require stopping treatment.

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