Deferasirox is an oral iron chelator used widely in the treatment of thalassemia major and other transfusion-dependent hemoglobinopathies. Whilst initial long-term studies established the renal safety of deferasirox, there are now increasing reports of hypercalciuria and renal tubular dysfunction. In addition, urolithiasis with rapid loss of bone density in patients with β thalassemia major has been reported. We conducted a cross-sectional cohort study enrolling 152 adult patients comprising of β thalassemia major (81.5%), sickle cell disease (8%), thalassemia intermedia (2%), HbH disease (6.5%) and E/β thalassemia (2%). Cases were matched with normal control subjects on age, gender and serum creatinine. Iron chelator use was documented and urine calcium to creatinine ratios measured. At the time of analysis, 88.8% of patients were receiving deferasirox and 11.2% were on deferoxamine. Hypercalciuria was present in 91.9% of subjects on deferasirox in a positive dose-dependent relationship. This was not seen with subjects receiving deferoxamine. At a mean dose of 30.2 ± 8.8 mg/kg/day, deferasirox was associated with an almost 4 fold increase in urine calcium to creatinine ratio (UCa/Cr). Hypercalciuria was present at therapeutic doses of deferasirox in a dose-dependent manner and warrants further investigation and vigilance for osteoporosis, urolithiasis and other markers of renal dysfunction.
- Disorders of calcium
- Iron overload