Iron is a mineral that is essential for our body to function properly. However, too much iron can be harmful and can cause health problems like liver disease and heart failure. People with hereditary anemias are at risk of having too much iron in their bodies because their bodies can't process it properly. Traditional treatment for iron overload involves using iron chelators, but they can be expensive and have side effects. However, a clinical trial has found that a drug called esomeprazole may be a safe and effective alternative.
The trial included 30 adult patients with hereditary anemias who had too much iron in their bodies. They were given either esomeprazole or a fake pill (placebo) for 12 months. Then, they switched to the other treatment for another 12 months. The researchers used MRI scans to measure the amount of iron in the patients' livers before and after the treatments.
The results showed that esomeprazole was effective in reducing the amount of iron in the patients' livers. This means that esomeprazole could help prevent health problems associated with too much iron, such as liver disease and heart failure. Importantly, the patients taking esomeprazole did not report any serious side effects, and they were able to tolerate the drug well.
Esomeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor drug that is commonly used to treat acid reflux and heartburn. It works by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. The trial suggests that esomeprazole may also have a role in reducing the amount of iron in the body by altering the way iron is absorbed in the gut. This is good news for people with hereditary anemias who have difficulty accessing iron chelators. Proton pump inhibitors, like esomeprazole, are more widely available and affordable, making them a more accessible treatment option. Also, because esomeprazole had fewer side effects, it could be a safer choice for some patients.