Sunday, October 7, 2012

Azathioprine and Low White Blood Count

I have been dutifully going for my 3 monthly follow up with doc and taking my medicine daily without fail. But my red blood count has been low or border line low.  Worst still, my white blood has been low for quite some time and it is falling.  It was 2.7 three months ago and my recent test showed that it is 2.2 now (normal range is 4 to 11).  Despite these low counts, I did not feel unwell though theoretically I am prone to infections.  I have planned to get my flu vaccination done but due to the low white count, I have been postponing this jab. In fact, I have not take any medical leave for this calendar year and hope to continue this way.

My Doc has asked that I stopped azathioprine completely now and repeat the test 2 weeks later.  I googled and found out that one side effect of azathioprine is that it may affect bone marrow function and cause low blood counts.  Stopping azathioprine will reverse the side effects.  I suppose my doc is hypothesizing that my low blood count is due to azathioprine since my kidney and liver functions are fine and ESR reading is not too high.  So probably it cannot be lupus flare that causes these low blood counts.

So let's hope that my blood counts will go up and my doc will stop, or if not cut my dosage of azathioprine since the side effects now outweigh the benefits.  Besides the side effects, this is quite an expensive drug since it is about S$1.20 per tablet. So if I can stop taking it completely, it will add some amounts to my savings!  


Saturday, May 26, 2012

I am off prednisolone!

It's been long long time since I last write on the blog. Days and then months just passed by without you realising it. But one thing I am glad to share is that I am finally taken off prednisolone since Feb this year! The weaning off process has been smooth without much withdrawal symptoms. The morale of the story is patience as you need to reduce the dosage a little every months, even it means a 1 mg reduction month by month. Besides this, I think change of mindset is the other thing you need do. Looking back, I deduce stress and constant worry are the trigger of illness like lupus. So since the last episode of singles, I take things a little easier. While I continue to work hard and responsibly, I stop fretting out of unfinished work constantly. Work will always be there and as along as you prioritise, there should be nothing to worry. Whenever I am tire, I rest well. Love your body, and it will love you back by allowing you to do things you like to do. For those who are struggling to wean off prednisolone, my advice is never rush. Listen to what your body is telling you, and take good care of it. Take your other medication faithfully and regularly. And most importantly, have a positive outlook and enjoy life and the days, and the family members and friends around you. Love yourself and love the ones around you.