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Abnormally low white blood cells

Hey guys. So I got a letter from rehumy, that my last blood count test showed low neutrophils and I need to go back in tomorrow to have my bloods tested again. I've noticed a lot of people here say that this is a bad side effect to the medications to treat lupus. My worry is that, I'm not on any medication at the moment and have never taken any medication used to treat lupus. So, I'm quite concerned that I've had these results. Although it would make sense, Becuase I always seem to be getting sick, and I always need a long course of antibiotics to get rid of infections and nine times out of ten they come back. Anyway, has anyone ever had abnormally low white blood cells whilst NOT on any medication - and should I be concerned ?

Hope everyone is well.

Thanks, Stacey :-)

5 Replies

Hi Stacey,

Yes to your question.I suffered with low neutrophils way before meds.

I was told it is my SLE and RA causing it.

Two of my son's 25 and 13 keep having this show up on bloods then they will get a higher result then low again.They are both under investigation for auto immune illnesses such as lupus /RA but not on any meds that could cause this.

Try not to worry to much.At least it is being monitored.You may find the levels have increased on retest.


Thanks for the reply. It's worrying when no one tells you anything about it and just tell you , you have this and then don't give any clarity on it . Now I won't worry as much :-) hope everything works out okay for yourself and your sons X

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Yup, my WBC were 1.2 and a neutrophil count of 1.7 in 2013. Believe me, this was pretty low. I wasn't on any meds. The doctors put it down to a virus but. My rheumy has since confirmed that with hindsight it was the first haematological signs of SLE. My repeat bloods got better quite quickly. Just rest and don't stress about it. Xx


Hi stacieann1989,

Some people who have SLE can have a low neutrophil count (called neutropenia) due to their lupus. Here is what 'The Lupus Encyclopedia' by Daniel J. Wallace, M.D. says about this;

"Since white blood cells are so important in fighting off infections, low blood counts should cause infections. However, this does not seem to be the case. Although people who have SLE have an overall risk of developing infections, this risk does not seem to be related necessarily to the low white blood cell counts. One 2011 study suggests that having a low neutrophil count may increase the risk of having an infection of the vaginal area (vulvovaginitis); however, this possibility needs to be confirmed in future follow-up studies.

Doctors usually do not treat the low white blood cell count in SLE patients since it usually does not cause any outright medical problems. In addition, low white blood cell counts do seem to improve much with SLE treatment in most patients. On the other hand, steroids such as prednisolone usually cause the white blood cell count to increase, but this also occurs in people who have normal white blood cell counts after treatment with steroids. One advantage of measuring the white blood cell count is that it can help make a diagnosis of SLE in some patients. It can also be helpful in monitoring the course and degree of disease activity in people who have lupus as blood counts can decrease during periods of increased disease activity. Finally, a white blood count is helpful in monitoring for potential drug side effects."

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Thank for the infinitive reply. At least I know now it's nothing to be overly concerned about. It would make sense, considering I keep getting one infection after the other these days! Thanks again for the response,

Stacey. X


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