Neutropenia
Treatment

The two primary treatments for neutropenia are antibiotics to fight infection and drugs that help the bone marrow make neutrophils. In some cases, a bone marrow transplant may be an option.

Antibiotics

With severe neutropenia, children often develop fever. When they do, they are given antibiotics to fight infection and may need to be hospitalized. Repeated use of antibiotics, however, could have side effects such as the development of drug-resistant bacteria, diarrhea or enterocolitis, an inflammation of the intestines. Some antibiotics may have adverse effects on kidney and liver function.

Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factors

New drugs have been developed that help the bone marrow make neutrophils and restore the body's defense against infection. These drugs are known as granulocyte colony-stimulating factors. They help keep neutrophils in the blood above the danger level all or most of the time. The shorter the time the neutrophil count is low, the less chance there is of your child developing fever or infection. These drugs may decrease the number and severity of infections and reduce hospitalizations.

Bone Marrow Transplant

In some cases, a bone marrow transplant is an option. Bone marrow transplantation is a procedure in which healthy bone marrow is given to replace defective bone marrow. The transplant may be autologous, which means using the patient's own marrow that was removed and possibly treated to kill any defective cells; allogeneic, which means using marrow from a healthy "matched" donor, usually a brother or sister; or syngeneic, which means using marrow from an identical twin.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Cancer & Blood Disease

Hematology Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-3831
Fax: (415) 514-5868
Appointment information

Blood & Marrow Transplant Program
1975 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-2188
Fax: (415) 502-4867
Appointment information