Leukopenia is one of the possible secondary effects of some drugs used in chemotherapy treatments.

Causes of leukopenia

Leukopenia can be caused by several factors: certain diseases or some drugs.


  • Diseases affecting the bone marrow, both congenital and acquired. The bone marrow shelters stem cells, which are in charge of the production of blood cells, for which reason, disorders affecting it can bring along severe consequences. Some examples are the Kostmann syndrome, a low recount of neutrophils, the myelodisplastic syndrome, the consequence of which is the anomalous and in low quantities production of leukocytes, or the myelocathexis, a hyperplasia of the bone marrow's stem cells.
  • Immune system diseases and disorders, such as AIDS or lupus, a disorder that causes the attack by leukocytes of other body cells.
  • Infections. Infections interrupt the bone marrow's normal activity, leading to a low leukocyte recount. Furthermore, severe infections destroy white blood cells at a greater speed than that at which they are created, and take the body to exhaustion. However, it must be taken into account that analysis performed during the first stages of an infection, even when it is mild, can show a low leukocyte recount even when the levels are in the considered normal threshold.
  • Liver or spleen failure, such as hypersplenism, that causes leukocytes to destroy other cells of the same type massively.


Cancer treatments (radiotherapy and chemotherapy), especially those for leukaemia, are usual causes of leukopenia. However, there are other drugs that can lead to low leukocyte recounts, such as antidepressantsantibiotics, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, immunosuppressives and corticosteroids.

Other factors

Stress, vitamin or mineral deficiency and malnutrition can also cause leukopenia.

Symptoms Complications


Leukopenia is a low recount of white blood cells.

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What is

Leukopenia is a low recount of white blood cells.

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Leukopenia can show several symptoms and frequent infections.

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The majority of chemotherapy treatments can cause leukopenia as a secondary effect.

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Throughout the duration of leukopenia, the body cannot fight infections.

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A complete haemogram is the easiest way to diagnose leukopenia.

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The treatment for leukopenia usually starts with vitamins and steroids.

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Periodic blood analysis help detect problems in leukocytes before any symptoms appear.

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Home remedies

Vitamin rich food helps the body recover from leukopenia.

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