What is Leucopenia?
Leucopenia indicates a reduction in the total white-cell count. Again there are many causes. Infections with bacteria or viruses are common causes. It may take place in acute leukemia. A potentially serious, medical (termed iatrogenic) cause is when certain drugs are given resulting in a reduced cell count. Indeed, some cases may proceed to a plastic anemia where there is total destruction of the white cell-producing regions of the system.
This is often fatal, but fortunately is not common. In various anemias there is also a deficiency of white cells. In any condition where the blood-cell-producing areas are invaded (such as with cancer), the count will inevitably fall.
If the condition is severe, and falls to less than 1.0 and there is superimposed infection, the term agramilocytosis is used.
Symptoms are those of the infection, particularly of the oral cavity, with sore throat and ulceration of the mouth. This may spread to include the gastrointestinal tract. Infections of the lungs, skin and urinary system are common, and very high fevers may occur.
The important fact about drug-induced leucopenia is that whenever possible, section through an eosinophil, a type of white blood cell. Most doctors are aware of these potential risks, and tend to avoid using drugs that may endanger their patients. Today, many drugs are available for most illnesses, so the one that produces the best results with the least possible chance of causing harm is usually the one of choice.