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Exacerbation of aluminium encephalopathy after treatment with desferrioxamine



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Deferoxamine (also known as desferrioxamine B, desferoxamine B, DFO-B, DFOA, DFB or desferal) is a bacterial siderophore produced by the Actinobacteria Streptomyces pilosus. It has medical applications as a chelating agent used to remove excess iron from the body, not aluminium

A description of the experience

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1989;4(2):110-4.

Exacerbation of aluminium encephalopathy after treatment with desferrioxamine.

McCauley J1, Sorkin MI.

  • 1Department of Medicine, Presbyterian University Hospital, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA.


Two haemodialysis patients with aluminium encephalopathy developed dramatic deteriorations of their neurological symptoms after initiation of desferrioxamine (DFO) therapy. Both patients were treated with relatively large doses of DFO (1 g and 2 g per treatment). In the first case, paranoid delusions, visual hallucinations, seizures and deteriorating speech followed each dialysis treatment with DFO. The second patient experienced increasing confusion, decreasing short-term memory, and deterioration in speech. In both cases the neurological symptoms regressed after decreasing or discontinuing the DFO. These patients demonstrate the potential dangers of using high doses of DFO. The pathogenesis of the exacerbation is not well understood but, may not simply be due to the result of elevated plasma aluminium levels after DFO therapy. We argue in this communication for reducing DFO in patients with aluminium encephalopathy to doses of 1 g three times per week to ensure adequate treatment of aluminium encephalopathy while minimising the risk of exacerbation from overzealous DFO administration.

PMID:  2496351

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Aluminium poisoning


Chelation agents