Low Red Blood Cell Count with Imuran - anyone else had it???

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 221
   Posted 2/5/2010 1:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hope you don't mind all these posts, but I'm just getting my head around my recent flare up - I'm used to be in remission!
So, I got my lab work done to see how I'm doing on Imuran. I've been on it for about 3/4 weeks. Liver and WBC fine.  My red blood cell count is down (not drastic) and needs to be checked in two weeks.  I can't remember if they checked it before as a baseline - I've had so much blood work done in the past few months.
Has anyone else had this side effect to Imuran?  Couldn't the anemia also be due to internal bleeding ulcers and how would they know the differnce since I'm in a flare?  I've had this happen six years ago.
I'll wait until the second lab results to raise the questions with my GI doc but would love some feedback in the meanwhile. 
Thanks as always - I learn so much for you all ....
44-single mom diagnosed with Crohn's 2004 via pill camera    6MP kicked into remission (along with modified diet) so went off in 2006.
2009/2010 acute flare and hospitalization - now on Imuran. Currently taking 55 mg prednisone.
Current problem - protruding thrombosed hemorrhoids (external as well as internal).
Fibromyaglia; migraines; herniated disks C5,6 and arthritis in neck; asthma; scolisis in back/arthritis.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7054
   Posted 2/5/2010 2:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I have chronically low red cell counts for the last 6 years. According to my GI, PCP, and rheumatologist, this is mostly due to "anemia of chronic illness" [also called anemia of inflammation]. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000565.htm

Crohn's is one of the inflammatory conditions that can cause this. This anemia is not the same as anemia associated with blood loss where one will also see low hemoglobin and hematocrit along with the low red blood cells.
Moderator Crohn's Disease  & Osteoarthritis Forums
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, asthma, severe allergy and a host of other medical problems.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5852
   Posted 2/6/2010 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
     I have ulcerative proctitis and was on 6MP for over seven years.  My red count was a tad low but my white count went dangerously low...1.6.  It really didn't keep me from flaring.  Doctor took me off it two weeks before starting Remicade.  All blood work is normal now.
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008 for ten days.
Remission Nov 08 thru May of 09.
Flare May of 09 thru Aug of 09.  Very short remission.  Flared again Nov 1st.  Started Remicade Nov 18th.  Felt great after first two infusions.  Suffered a set back after 3rd infusion on Dec 31st.  Meds: Benicar, Colazal, Prednisone (hopefully short course), Calcium with D, multivitamin, probiotic.  Rectal meds...cort suppository.

artist guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 2/7/2010 12:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I had anemia of inflamation for 25 years, i didn't affect me, i never felt fatigued, it was just there, but it stopped around 7-8 yr's ago and I've had normal blood count since. I'll let you know I too am on imuran 3 wk's also pred, due to flareing in my throat and canker sores in my mouth, really bad, prior to that, diet exercise and the 3-4 times ayear what I would call gas blockage, 4 surgeries, 2 resections, inflamed around my resection area. now all of a sudden i'm on pred and imuran, hopeing that in time I can weed off the pred, but seriously I'm not so sure, 50mg x3 imuran 15mg pred. getting bolld work done this thurs. I'll let you know

artist guy

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 2/7/2010 10:25 AM (GMT -6)   
I think that Imuran is supposed to lower it some. I may be wrong.
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease & Anxiety/Panic
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*
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