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Blood Transfusion :: Renal failure reported with Novartis’ Exjade

Novartis and FDA notified healthcare professionals of changes to the WARNINGS and ADVERSE REACTIONS sections of the product labeling for Exjade, a drug used to treat chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions (transfusional hemosiderosis) in patients 2 years of age and older.

Cases of acute renal failure, some with a fatal outcome, have been reported following the post marketing use of Exjade.

Most of the fatalities occurred in patients with multiple co-morbidities and who were in advanced stages of their hematological disorders.

Additionally, there were post marketing reports of cytopenias, including agranulocytosis, neutropenia and thrombocytopenia in patients treated with Exjade where some of the patients died. The relationship of these episodes to treatment with Exjade is uncertain. Most of these patients had preexisting hematologic disorders that are frequently associated with bone marrow failure. Further, cases of leukocytoclastic vasculitis, urticaria, and hypersensitivity reactions (including anaphylaxis and angioedema) were reported.

Healthcare professionals should monitor serum creatinine in patients who are at increased risk of complications, having preexisting renal conditions, are elderly, have co-morbid conditions, or are receiving medicinal products that depress renal function. Blood counts should also be monitored regularly and treatment should be interrupted in patients who develop unexplained cytopenia.

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