Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Desferrioxamine


Last updated on 13/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Desferrioxamine




DRUG CLASS: Antidotes

SUB CLASS: Heavy metal antagonists

USED FOR: Acute iron intoxication, Chronic iron overload

– 500mg, 2g (injections)

What is Desferrioxamine for?

Desferrioxamine belongs to a class of medications called heavy metal antagonists, or chelating agents. It can bind to free iron ions and eliminate from your body to treat acute iron toxicity and chronic iron overload from multiple transfusions.

How to use it?

Desferrioxamine can be administered intravenously (IV), intramuscularly (IM), or subcutaneously (SubQ). Listed below are the indications and the dosages, which patients with poor renal function may need a lower dose. 

For acute iron toxicity:
IV / IM: 1000 mg, followed by 500 mg every 4 hours for 2 doses. Then, subsequent doses of 500 mg every 4 to 12 hours as needed. Maximum dose is 6000 mg/day.
– Intramuscular (IM) route is used for all patients not in shock.
– Intravenous (IV) route is used only for patients in cardiovascular collapse.

For chronic iron overload:
IM: 500-1000 mg/day (maximum: 1000 mg/day)
SubQ: 1000-2000 mg/day or 20-40 mg/kg/day over 8-24 hours
IV: 40-50 mg/kg/day over 8-12 hours for 5-7 days per week (maximum: 60 mg/kg/day)

What are the side effects of Desferrioxamine?

Common side effects of Desferrioxamine include injection site pain and swelling, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Who should not take Desferrioxamine?

– People who are allergic to Desferrioxamine or any component of the formulation
– Patients with severe renal diseases, or anuria

Pharmacist Tips:

– Do not drive or operate machinery until you know the effect of the medicine.
– Your urine may become reddish in colour. This is normal and not harmful.

Common dosing schedule:

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Desferrioxamine may interact with:
Vitamin C supplements, or products containing vitamin C

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Desferrioxamine in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Desferrioxamine is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Desferrioxamine in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.