What is a Generic Drug?

A generic drug is a copy of the brand-name drug with the same dosage, safety, strength, quality, consumption method, performance, and intended use. Before generics become available on the market, the generic company must prove it has the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug and works in the same way and in the same amount of time in the body.

The only differences between generics and their brand-name counterparts is that generics are less expensive and may look slightly different (eg. different shape or color), as trademarks laws prevent a generic from looking exactly like the brand-name drug.

Generics are less expensive because generic manufacturers don't have to invest large sums of money to develop a drug. When the brand-name patent expires, generic companies can manufacture a copy of the brand-name and sell it at a substantial discount.

Desferal (Deferoxamine Mesylate)


Desferal (Deferoxamine Mesylate)

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  • Product Details


    Desferal (Deferoxamine Mesylate) is classified as an iron-chelating agent, and it works by binding to excess iron in the body. This medication helps eliminate excess iron through the kidneys and urine, maintaining iron levels within a normal range. It's often prescribed for conditions like thalassemia or hemochromatosis, in which the body accumulates excessive iron, potentially leading to organ damage if left untreated. In addition, Desferal helps treat acute iron poisoning, which can be particularly dangerous in young children. It is available in vials for intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intravenous administration.


    The appropriate Desferal dosage will depend on the age of the patient, the condition being treated, and the dosage form being used. For subcutaneous infusion for chronic iron overload, patients may receive an average daily dose ranging from 20 to 60 mg/kg. For acute iron toxicity, the dosage is started at 1,000 mg as an intravenous infusion at a rate that should not exceed 15 mg/kg/hr. Some people may require subsequent doses of 500 mg every 4 to 12 hours, capped at 6,000 mg within a 24-hour period.


    The active ingredient in Desferal is Deferoxamine Mesylate.


    Patients should avoid using Desferal if any of the following apply:

    • Severe kidney disease or anuria, as the drug and the iron chelate are mainly excreted through the kidneys
    • Known hypersensitivity to Deferoxamine or any components of the medication


    • Before starting treatment with Desferal, consult a healthcare provider about the following:
      • Any medications being taken
      • Other medical conditions you have
      • Any allergies you have
      • Whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Desferal can cause hypersensitivity reactions, especially when given rapidly via intravenous infusion. To minimize this risk, it's usually administered intramuscularly or through slow subcutaneous or intravenous infusion.
    • Long-term use, high doses, or use in patients with low levels of ferritin can lead to hearing and vision issues. Regular monitoring for these effects is advised.
    • Desferal has been linked to kidney problems, including acute renal failure. It's important to monitor kidney function closely while on this medication.
    • The medication can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome, particularly with high doses given intravenously. It's important not to exceed the recommended dose to avoid this risk.
    • In children, high doses of Desferal, particularly in the presence of low ferritin levels, can slow growth. A dose reduction may help in resuming normal growth.
    • There have been instances of severe, sometimes fatal, infections in patients taking Desferal. If an infection is suspected, immediate discontinuation of the medication and appropriate medical treatment are necessary.
    • In patients with heart failure, the combination of Desferal and Vitamin C can be risky. Delaying Vitamin C administration for a month after starting Desferal and monitoring heart function during combined treatment is recommended.
    • In such patients, Desferal might aggravate conditions like neurological dysfunction, dialysis dementia, or hyperparathyroidism.
    • Since Desferal may cause dizziness, it can affect your ability to drive or use machines.
    • Desferal can be harmful during pregnancy. Women who could become pregnant should be advised to use effective contraception and informed about the potential risk to the fetus.

    Side Effects

    Desferal may cause side effects. The most common ones may include irritation, pain, and swelling at the injection site, rashes, allergic reactions, joint pain, fever, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.

    Serious side effects may include auditory and vision problems, kidney and lung issues, growth suppression, and cardiac dysfunction, particularly when used with vitamin C. Patients should watch for signs like a fast heartbeat, low blood pressure, neurological changes, and acute respiratory problems. Immediate medical attention is necessary for these serious symptoms, and ongoing monitoring by healthcare providers is recommended.


    1. Desferal (Deferoxamine Mesylate) Product Monograph. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; 2022.
    2. Desferal (Deferoxamine Mesylate) Drug Label Information. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; 2023.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.

    Product Code : 12166

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