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CLL Support Association
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White blood cell count surge and prednisone

Hi everyone,

I had my wbc go from 45 to 85 and my doctor was going to have me do another blood count in 4 weeks to see if the head cold I’m suffering from was the cause of the jump. (Virus?) All of my other numbers were not alarming and no bad symptoms. I reminded him that I had been put on 50 mg prednisone for bronchitis along with antibiotics. My doctor felt for sure the prednisone was the cause for the jump. Has anyone else their wbc jump because of prednisone? I’m now just going to see him in 4 month as usual. It was just scary to have it jump that much. Thanks! Lisa

16 Replies
oldestnewest

Yes my wbc jumped from 380 to 550 the following week after starting 60mg of prednisone due to very low platelets. The week after that it jumped to 750! I was told it was because the prednisone redistributes the cll cells into the blood and I did find my neck nodes did reduce a lot whilst taking it. My wbc count did start to go back down as dose was reduced.

Best wishes

Helen

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Thanks so much Helen. It’s good to know that your wbc started going back down. The family practitioner that prescribed the prednisone did not warn me about the wbc going up. She put me me on 50 mg prednisone no tapering for 6 days. My cll doc feels sure this was the cause but it was kinda scary.

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Yes, been there and done that. Steroids shake out the additional WBC that cling to the side walls of the blood vessels. In addition the WBC numbers are replaced about every ten days, but when on steroids they live longer. Have your blood tested 10 days after you are off of steriods and it will drop substantially. Google steroieds and WBC. Also your glucose levels will nearly double as well on steroids.

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The anticipated massive hike in glucose levels is a major concern of mine! 😟

Newdawn

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They told my wife while on steroids for 5 days to lower all sugar intake. Her glucose went on steroids from 90 to 175.

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That’s still under 10 (UK conversion) so not too bad. Mine would go sky high! However, doctors don’t concern themselves with glucose levels too much at times of competing priority I find. It’s seen as collateral damage!

Newdawn

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He didn’t even mention my glucose numbers- I’m going to check to see if there was an impact there.

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No reason it should be a concern if you’re not diabetic. The benefits outweigh the concerns in this situation.

Newdawn

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Sounds like your doctor knows what he/she is doing. I would be sure to have your GP and CLL doctor communicate. My GP has treated several CLL patients and was the one who originally diagnosed me as having CLL, then sent me to a H/O to verify. My GP also did my Bone Marrow Biopsy.

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Hi

I have low blood platelets and when I start bleeding and bruising easily I am prescribed prednisone to increase my platelet levels.

The good news is that it works. The bad news is for me it is only temporary and the platelet levels fall back steadily over a few months.

I recently had pneumonia and was similarly prescribed antibiotics and a high dose of prednisone to combat this. My platelet levels soared but then crashed again as it was a high dose.

I have had several courses of prednisone and it does work presently. I was told by the specialist doctor that this might not always be the case and I might have to move onto another drug that would be given intravenously.

Hope this helps?

Regards

Dave.

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This helps a lot! Thanks Dave!

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Low platelets are often a trigger for cytotoxic treatment in cll (is chemo or drugs like ibrutinib) is that something been discussed?

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Adrian

No it hasn’t but things are changing quickly. Today my platelet count was 26 after a post pneumonia blood test. This is just a month after a week of high dose prednisone. The usual pattern is that the platelet levels rise after the steroid treatment to 90 or so before falling back slowly over six to twelve months. This time it maybe different after the cocktails of drugs I was given to fight the pneumonia.

I have had chemo conversations but another intravenous steroid has been mentioned as an alternative.

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Prednisone will make all blood numbers wild! Your dose is fairly high, so will make them very wild! Give is two or three weeks after you are weaned off and then start comparing numbers to the before-prednisone ones.

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Thanks Quarry !

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I have been on prednisone for most of the last three years cause they couldn't find something I could take. I am finally off of it and my wbc count is a little low but my vitamin d is really low. I read an article that says it depletes your vitamin d and it affects your bones and muscles. Hopefully that is why my wbc count is low I have been taking double vitamin d pills for about two weeks now. I still hurt but not like I did a couple of weeks ago and I am suppose to test my blood again in about two weeks. But right now just going to the grocery store takes it out of me. Oh and i go get a bone density test next month cause I fell in the livingroom on carpet and fractured my elbow.

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