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Background: Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are chronically transfused often, require iron chelation therapy. There are limited data that allow for comparison of the efficacy and safety of the iron chelator deferiprone versus deferoxamine in children with SCD.

Methods: This post hoc analysis of the phase 3b/4, randomized, open-label FIRST (Ferriprox in Patients with IRon Overload in Sickle Cell Disease Trial) study (NCT02041299) included patients 17 years and younger with SCD or other anemias receiving deferiprone or deferoxamine.

Results: Overall, 142 patients were evaluated; mean ages were 10.5 and 11.7 years in the deferiprone and deferoxamine groups, respectively. At 12 months: mean change from baseline in liver iron concentration was -3.3 mg/g dry weight (dw) with deferiprone and -3.4 mg/g dw with deferoxamine (p = .8216); relative mean change (coefficient of variation %) in log cardiac T2* magnetic resonance imaging was 1.02 (21.8%) with deferiprone and 0.95 (19.5%) with deferoxamine (p = .0717); and the mean (standard error) change in serum ferritin levels was -133.0 (200.3) [mu]g/L with deferiprone and -467.1 (244.1) [mu]g/L with deferoxamine (p = .2924). The most common deferiprone-related adverse events (AEs) were upper abdominal pain (20.2%), vomiting (13.8%), pyrexia (9.6%), decreased neutrophil count (9.6%), increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT; 9.6%), and increased aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 9.6%). All cases of increased ALT, increased AST, and neutropenia resolved, most without intervention.

Conclusions: This post hoc analysis of pediatric patients from FIRST corroborated previous findings in adults that deferiprone is comparable to deferoxamine in reducing iron overload. No new safety concerns were observed. Deferiprone is an oral chelation option that could improve adherence and outcomes in children.

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