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Fighting Anemia's Side Effects

Study looks at new kind of iron chelation therapy

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A new form of oral iron chelation therapy removes excess iron in people with anemia who have had multiple blood transfusions.

That's the finding of a study presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Philadelphia.

The study found the oral compound ICL670 is as effective as the standard treatment with the drug deferoxamine, which requires continuous infusion of the drug many hours each day.

A multi-center phase II study on ICL670 was led by researchers at Turin University in Italy. The study included 71 people with anemia who had transfusional iron overload. They were given either oral doses of ICL670 or deferoxamine.

The researchers measured the iron content in the study subjects' livers every three months using a non-invasive technique.

After nine months of treatment, the people taking various amounts of ICL670 had reductions in their iron liver content.

ICL670 cause some abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal side effects in most of the people taking it.

People with anemia who receive multiple blood transfusions suffer iron overload, which slows oxidation and damages their cells, tissues and organs. After years of transfusions, some people with anemia develop serious complications such as heart disease, liver disease and other health problems.

Human bodies have no natural mechanism to remove excess iron.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about iron chelators.

SOURCE: American Society of Hematology, news release, December 2002
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