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Background: Beta thalassemia is an inherited hemoglobin disorder resulting in chronic hemolytic anemia requiring life-long blood transfusion that cause iron overload. Silymarin plays a role as oral iron chelator and hepatoprotective agents in thalassemic patients.The aim of this work was to determine silymarin value as an iron chelator in thalassemic patients with iron overload.
Patients and Methods: This study was conducted on 40 children with beta thalassemia major under follow-up at Hematology Unit, Pediatric Department, Tanta University Hospital having serum ferritin level more than 1000 ng/ml and was divided in two groups. Group IA: Received oral Deferasirox (Exjade) and silymarin for 6 months. Group IB: Received oral Deferasirox (Exjade) and placebo for 6 months and 20 healthy children serving as a control group in the period between April 2011 and August 2012 and was performed after approval from research ethical committee center in Tanta University Hospital and obtaining an informed written parental consent from all participants in this research. Results: Serum ferritin levels were markedly decreased in group IA cases compared with group IB (P= 0.001). Conclusion: From this study we concluded that, silymarin in combination with Exjade can be safely used in treatment of iron-loaded thalassemic patients as it showed good iron chelation with no sign of toxicity. Recommendations: Extensive multicenter studies in large number of patients with longer duration of follow up and more advanced methods of assessment of iron status is recommended to clarify the exact role of silymarin in reduction of iron over load in children with beta thalassemia.