Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tocilizumab and Leukopenia

Tocilizumab is known for leucopenia / neutropenia as an adverse event. Recently we had to postpone some of our patients as they had developed leucopenia. One of our nurses supplied raw data on our patients, which I now have evaluated. Out of 51 patients 5 are treated elsewhere after initial treatment here in the clinic. One patient died because of non-related cause. One changed to another biologic because of failing efficacy. 39% developed any kind of leucopenia, 4 patients had a slight leucopenia (above 3.5 und blow 4.5 /nl). 27% dipped below 3.5 /nl. One patient developed severe leucopenia, which is persistent even more than one year after stopping treatment.
We're very satisfied with tocilizumab, but think we should be alerted and will keep a close eye on leucopenia/neutropenia.

18 months later (27.01.2014):
I think it’s time to look at our cohort again.
31% developed any kind of leucopenia, 15 patients had a slight leucopenia (above 3.5 und blow 4.5 /nl). 10% dipped below 3.5 /nl.

Leukopenia - low count of leukocytes, white blood cells
Neutropenia - low count of neutrophils, a special class of white blood cells

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