agranulocytosis

Agranulocytosis

Agranulocytosis is a condition characterized by reduced number of Granulocytes. Granulocytes are a type of white blood cells that are responsible for healthy immunity. Granulocytes are filled with microscopic granules that contain enzymes which digest microorganisms. Granulocytes are made in bone marrow and it travels the whole body through blood. When the numbers of granulocytes are drastically reduced within the body, leaving them too few in numbers, the resulting condition is called ‘Agranulocytosis’.

Alternate names

Granulocytopenia, Granulopenia

Symptoms

Since Agranulocytosis is a condition where immunity decreases, the possibility of an infection to occur increases dramatically. The symptoms of Agranulocytosis are usually the symptoms of infection. However, in absence of any infection, Agranulocytosis can be asymptomatic.

  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Sudden fever
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sore mouth
  • Fast heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sore gums
  • Skin abscesses
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid progression of infection of any organ
  • Rapid progression of Septicemia

Causes

  • Street drugs
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Genetic problems
  • Poor nutrition
  • Preparation for bone marrow transplant
  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Anti-thyroid drugs like carbimazole, methimazole, propylthiouracil
  • Antibiotics like penicillin, chloramphenicol, cotrimoxazole
  • ACE inhibitors like benazepril
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Pain killers (NSAIDs) like indomethacin, naproxen, phenylbutazone, metamizole
  • Anti-depressant drugs
  • Anti-psychotic drugs

Diagnosis

  • A blood test with differential WBC count is done to find out the percentage of each type of WBCs.

Treatment

  • Treatment of Agranulocytosis depends on the cause. For example, if a drug/medicine is causing it, discontinuation of the drug is required. Shifting patient on a nutrition rich diet if the cause is poor nutrition may help. Discontinuation of the drug that causes bone marrow depression may help.
  • In severe cases of Agranulocytosis, transfusion of granulocytes can also be considered.

Precautions

  • Exercise precaution and observe for the symptoms if you are taking any medicine that is known to cause Agranulocytosis.
  • Consult your doctor as soon as possible if you observe any symptoms associated with Agranulocytosis.
  • Take a nutrition rich diet if you are taking any medicines that are known to cause Agranulocytosis.

Click here to go to Agranulocytosis forums

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About the Author:

B. Pharm (K.L.E. society's S.V.V. Patil College of Pharmacy, Bengaluru) M. Pharm (Maharishi Arvind Institute of Pharmacy, Jaipur)

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