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Dr. G: Meds & Anemia?
pixe5 posted:
Hi Dr. G,

Can some psych meds cause anemia?


Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
Dear Pixie,

There are a handful of case reports with Depakote (valproate) causing low red blood cells (anemia) -- it has a particular appearance under a microscope, called "macrocytic" anemia (big cells). That's about it. More common causes of anemia are iron deficiency (microcytic, not macrocytic), alcoholism, nutritional deficiencies or malabsorption syndromes, liver failure, or endocrine problems. Oral contraceptives and some antibiotics can cause anemias. Usually when drugs cause anemias (typically, antibiotics) they are known as hemolytic anemias, meaning the blood cells hemolyze or break, and they have a normal size under a microscope (ie, neither macro- nor micro-cytic). There are many descriptors of anemia that a doctor is guided by to determine the likely cause, so, better than guessing would be to ask your doctor what type of anemia is present.

- Dr. G.

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Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. He also maintains a private prac...More

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