Deferoxamine (DFO), an iron chelating agent, may be used to reduce iron overload in patients for whom phlebotomy is contraindicated or not well tolerated. Examples include patients with sickle cell disease or thalassemia whose anemia would be exacerbated by phlebotomies. DFO is seldom used to treat hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) due to the low cost and efficacy of phlebotomy therapy. DFO is typically administered by intravenous or subcutaneous infusion.
Patients with HH may be counseled to avoid alcohol use in order to avoid liver damage. With the exception of iron supplements, dietary restrictions on iron ingestion are rarely advised.