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Low white cell blood count on Sulphsalazine. Do I need to worry?

I have been taking sulphasalazine 2 tablets twice daily for about 3 months now having failed two other DMARDS. I had a letter from my consultant saying that my white cell count was low and that I must get another blood test. I did this and then went on Hols. When I went to the chemist yesterday to pick up a prescription there was a blood form with it from my GP telling me to go for a blood test. Do I need to worry? I seem to have periods of feeling totally exhausted but what is new there? Despite the hair loss and a slightly upset stomach this is the first drug to have helped me. I can now walk again unaided and even did swimming on holiday. Any views/advice?

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Yes you do need to follow this up with your GP or consultant and in the meantime keep an extra eye to your health - not worry but be vigilant. The medics do not like us having low white blood counts as it affects our bodies ability to fight infections. From my own experience of low WBC If your next blood test is low you may have to stop for a while to allow your WBC to return to normal. Depending what else you have tried there may be a case of discussing with your consultant whether dropping the dose level will still control you and keep you WBC levels right. Otherwise it could be on to a different drug. When my results for low WBC came back I was surprised as I felt quite well and my joints were behaving better than they had been. Farm

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I've had this happen too on methotrexate. I had to stop it for 3 months. My white cells were so low I was advised not to go out. I've also had to stop a drug that was working very well for me because of side effects, it's so unfair isn't it. Hope that your white cells come back up on a reduction of dose or rest off sulphasalazine. Either way you need expert advice from your rheumy.


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