Efficacy of deferiprone in the treatment of acute iron intoxication in rats

Frank F. Fassos, Matitiahu Berkovitch, Nick Daneman, Lee Koren, Ross G. Cameron, Julia Klein, Corrado Falcitelli, Patrick St. Louis, Richard Daneman, Gideon Koren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Deferiprone [(1,2-dimethyl-3-hydroxypyrid-4-one) (L1)], is the first orally active iron chelating agent to reach clinical trials in patients with chronic iron overload Its efficacy in preventing morbidity and mortality in acute iron poisoning has not been tested. Objective: To determine whether deferiprone can reduce the mortality of rats following toxic oral doses of iron. Methods: Rats were administered 612 mg/kg elemental iron by gavage, corresponding to the LD58. A parallel group received the same oral dose of iron followed by deferiprone intraperitoneally at 400 mg/kg (loading dose), followed by additional intraperitoneal injections of 200 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg of deferiprone at one hour intervals. Results: Coadministering deferiprone with the iron decreased mortality from 58% (11/19) to 15% (3/20) (p = 0.013). The administration of deferiprone was associated with urinary excretion of iron (which did not occur with iron alone) and the production of the red deferiprone-iron complex. On histological examination there appeared to be less iron in the liver and gastrointestinal tract. Conclusion: The coadministration of deferiprone can decrease morbidity and mortality caused by acute iron overdose. Deferiprone holds promise for the treatment of iron poisoning but additional study is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-287
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Toxicology - Clinical Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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