Thyroid UK
82,948 members97,982 posts

Low White Cell Count

Hi, I have graves disease and am on omeprazole and propanalol. I came down with flu, day 4 now and able to get out of bed phew! Day 2 of having the flu and feeling very ill I went to the docs who took bloods and blood tests show my white cell count of 5.1 (lower end of normal), however, my lymphocytes count was 0.40 which was under the normal levels. I have stopped my meds as a precaution. Doc said my low white cells may be due to having an infection. How will I know if it is in fact the flu that has caused my low results and not the meds? Anyone out there came across this before? Also I thought white blood counts should be raised when fighting an infection but hey I'm no doctor!!

PS. Merry Christmas...

7 Replies

According to this website,

omeprazole can have a 'rare' side effect of:

Decreased numbers of white blood cells or platelets in the blood (leucopenia or thrombocytopenia).

Is there a patient information leaflet with your omeprazole? And if there is, does it list decreased white blood cells in the side effects? If it does, I would be inclined to take it to show your prescribing GP, and query whether you need to be taking this medication.


I have low white blood cells but was told not to worry! Don't know why I have this....


wbc raise when you have an infection to help fight it off. Do you know what your wbc usually is? Some people's are just lower than others but if you don’t know what yours normally is then it’s hard to know if it’s something else making it lower.

keep an eye on how you are feeling though as low wbc can be a rare side effect of ant-thyroid drugs but 5.1 isn’t classed as low (just!). I think you did the right thing in stopping your meds for now as if it is a side effect it could get worse if you continue taking them - i'd speak to your specialist as soon as you can as you don't want to be off anti-thyroid meds for long.

I have Graves, was on anti-thyroid drugs, had a fever, my glands swelled up, I got a rash all over my body and lumps on my face and felt pretty ill, I stopped taking my meds on the Friday and called my specialist on the Tuesday who said to get to the hospital - I had blood tests and my wbc was very low (1.1) and I'd caught an infection that I couldn't fight off. It was pretty bad but if I hadn’t stopped taking the meds when I did it would have been a lot worse.


I think it is normal to have low white cell count when you have Graves. I have Graves but had TT and recent blood tests have shown my wbc count as normal for the first time in my life.

I copied this from new

Diagnostic features of Graves’ disease

Patients with a diffuse, patchy uptake with some hot and some cold spots over the thyroid along with elevated, circulating TSH receptor antibody have a confirmed diagnosis of Graves’ disease.

Elderly patients with Graves’ disease may also have lower radioiodine uptake since there may be previous presence of a multinodular goitre.

Routine blood test shows anemia and a low white blood cell count and low platelets. There may be a higher level of lymphocytes and monocytes in some patients.

I would think being ill would affect things as well but if you are not well keep pestering your doc.

Keep well


I have chronic neutropaenia so always have v low white cell count - mine is off the nhs scale.

For years they ignored my low white cell count and said i must have had an infection at time of testing (year after year!?) so i did my own research and got a private diagnosis of chronic neutropaenia.

NHS as usual is clueless but i saw a private doc who explained to me that it means you are at constant risk of infection. (i had tonsillitis, conjunctivitus, mouth abscess, etc all in 5 weeks). The private doc told me to wash hands with anti bac throughout day and do what i can to protect myself from infection. I got my own antibiotics (nhs refuses to prescribe) and they have come in handy. Saves me wasting my time seeing clueless nhs gp who has given me NO advice on what this really means for me - esp in view of my auto immune diseases


Hi Bluedaffodil, Agree with you about GPs who don't know (or don't want to know), but please go careful with antibiotics as they can have such unwanted side effects and lower many things in the body. One has just come onto the market for 'over the counter' use which I had prescribed 5 years ago and from which side effects I am still recovering from. Please go careful and check up on each one you take. Wish you better health in 2013. Janet.


Thanks for replying. I had another blood test yesterday to check if the levels are increasing or not. Spoke to doc at endocriene who looks after me and she said my white cell is lower than in previous tests they have on record for me. She said if my latest bloods come back 'normal' then I should take my meds again. I will do this with caution though and will request another blood test a few days after starting the meds - just in case!!


You may also like...