Iron Chelation Therapy

Also known as: chelation therapy.

What is iron chelation therapy?

Iron chelation therapy is a treatment used to remove excess iron from the blood. When individuals have to get many blood transfusions, iron overload can become a problem for them. When people have sickle cell disease, iron chelation therapy in the form of deferoxamine (Jadenu) has been shown to enhance iron excretion and remove excess tissue iron in regularly transfused patients.

What happens during the treatment?

Older forms of iron chelation therapy come in the form of an infusion pump that must be worn for 8 to 12 hours in order to inject the medication into the body. Newer forms of iron chelation therapy come in a tablet form that is either taken with juice or water or simply swallowed once a day. These newer forms of iron chelation therapy have good tolerance and are becoming the preferred method of treatment. Jadenu is one of these tablet forms of iron chelation therapy.

Is any special preparation needed?

Tests are needed in advance to determine if iron chelation therapy treatment is needed. Some of the treatments, such as Jadenu, must be taken on an empty stomach.

What are the risk factors?

Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and hearing or vision problems are potential side effects of iron chelation therapy.


Reviewed by: Athena C Pefkarou, MD

This page was last updated on: April 06, 2021 10:20 AM

Sickle Cell / Hemoglobinopathies Care Program

For over 30 years we've strived to offer a comprehensive, patient family focused health care delivery system that integrates local community resources.

Learn more

Learn more about

Hgb H Constant Spring

Hemoglobin H – constant spring is a particular severe form of Hgb H disease that can cause of number of problems. Learn more

Beta Thalassemia Major

Beta thalassemia is an abnormality in the production of beta chains which causes the red cells to more easily breakdown resulting in mild to severe anemia. It is more common in Mediterranean (Italian or Greek), African or Southeast Asian peoples Learn more

Exchange Transfusion Therapy

Exchange transfusion therapy is a form of blood transfusion in which the body’s blood is removed and replaced. Learn more

Chronic Transfusion Therapy/Hypertransfusion Therapy

Chronic transfusion therapy is a form of blood transfusion that is repeated on a “chronic,” or regular, basis. Learn more