Popular medications for neutropenia
Neutropenia is a condition where the body does not have enough neutrophils. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cells that are vital to helping the body fight infection. They fight the infection off by destroying harmful bacteria and fungi like yeast that invade the body.
Importance of neutrophils
It is essential to have a sufficient number of neutrophils in the body; otherwise, the person is prone to several infections. The risk of infection is so high that the person has to be extra cautious about sanitation and hygiene. While washing hands, in general, is good practice, they must wash their hands regularly or they are at the risk of getting serious infections.
While neutropenia itself does not cause any symptom, it triggers infections which show symptoms like:
- Sore throat
- Sores in the mouth or a toothache
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Abdominal pain
- Pain near the anus
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Redness, swelling or pain around cuts or wounds
- Diarrhea or sores around the anus
- Shortness of breath or a cough
Neutrophils are produced in the bone marrow of larger bones and anything that disrupts this process of production in the bone marrow can lead to this condition. One of the most common causes of neutropenia is chemotherapy, and in fact, almost half the cancer patients that undergo chemotherapy experience some level of neutropenia.
Treatment and medication
The treatment for this condition usually involves glycoprotein.
Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)
It is a glycoprotein that triggers the bone marrow, which is a tissue that contains stem cells, to produce a sufficient number of neutrophils and release them into the bloodstream. Its generic name is filgrastim, but it also has different trade names that one may be aware of.
Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)
A naturally producing glycoprotein that carries out the same functions as that of G-CSF.
Since a low count of white blood cells leads to infections, some patients are also given antibiotics to treat those infections.
So apart from increasing the count of white blood cells, the doctor may also prescribe a combination of medicines to treat other conditions that are caused by this. While this is a serious condition, if someone had febrile neutropenia, it is regarded as a medical emergency and the person needs immediate attention.
Some trade names of the medications used to treat this condition that one should be aware of:
Neulasta, Udenyca, Fulphila
All these are trade names for pegfilgrastim. It is a man-made version of a certain natural substance in the body which helps make more white blood cells.
Its generic name is sargramostim, and it works similarly to pegfilgrastim in making a natural substance in the body that promotes the production of white blood cells.
Filgrastim is their generic name, which is again used to promote the production of white blood cells. It is given to people who are going through chemotherapy, chronic neutropenia or exposure to large amounts of radiation.
It is always advisable to consult a doctor before consuming any of these medications. These are medications that are prescribed by a professional after a detailed diagnosis that is done under proper care.