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Leukopenia, the side effect of acetaminophen


The leukopeniaalso called leukocytopenia, is an abnormality in which there are values of white blood cells (leukocytes) below normal. Leukocytes are the blood cells responsible for defense against germs or other external aggressions.

It is an anomaly that does not usually present characteristic and visible symptomsIt is therefore detected when a blood test is performed for an unrelated health problem or during a routine medical checkup.

The decrease of white blood cells below normal values, which is usually 4,500 to 10,000 mm3 in adults, may be due to infection – such as covid, influenza, hepatitis, mononucleosis, typhoid fevers…-, autoimmune diseases such as lupus or Felty’s syndrome, cancer (leukemia) or effects of drugs or medications, such as radio or chemotherapy, antibiotics or corticosteroids, etcetera.

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Another medication that can cause leukopenia is acetaminophen. However, it is among those listed as “very rare side effects”, i.e., the statistic is that it is suffered by one in 10,000 people.

When leukopenia appears associated with the consumption of medicines, the suspension of these is usually sufficient to allow a complete recovery of the number of leukocytes, overcoming these alterations without major problems.

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