Iron-loading diseases remain an important problem because of the toxicity of iron-catalyzed redox reactions. Iron loading occurs in the mitochondria of Friedreich's ataxia (FA) patients and may play a role in its pathogenesis. This suggests that iron chelation therapy could be useful. We developed previously the lipophilic iron chelators known as the 2-pyridylcarboxaldehyde isonicotinoyl hydrazone (PCIH) ligands and identified 2-pyridylcarboxaldehyde 2-thiophenecarboxyl hydrazone (PCTH) as the most promising analog. Hence, this study assessed the efficacy of PCTH and other PCIH analogs compared with various chelators, including deferiprone and desferrioxamine (DFO). Age-and sex-matched control and FA fibroblasts were preincubated with iron chelators and subsequently challenged with 50 μM H2O2 for up to 24 h. The current study demonstrates an interesting structure-activity relationship among the closely related PCIH series of ligands, with only PCTH being highly effective at preventing H2O2-induced cytotoxicity. PCTH increased FA fibroblast cell viability by up to 70%, whereas DFO rescued viability by 1 to 5% only. Hence, PCTH, which was well tolerated by cells was far more effective than DFO at preventing oxidative stress. It is noteworthy that kinetic studies demonstrated PCTH to rapidly penetrate cells to induce 59Fe efflux, whereas DFO, PCIH, 2-pyridylcarboxaldehyde benzoyl hydrazone, and 2-pyridylcarboxaldehyde m-bromobenzoyl hydrazone were far slower, indicating it is the rate of chelator permeation that is crucial for protection against H2O2. In addition, PCTH was found to be as effective as or more effective than conventional radical scavengers or the antioxidant idebenone (which has undergone clinical trials) at protecting cells against H2O2-mediated cytotoxicity. These findings further indicate the potential of PCTH for treatment of iron overload.