Supportive Therapy

There may be side effects and complications as a result of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or its treatment. There are supportive therapies available to manage these:

  • Fatigue
    You may feel tired due to a low red blood cell count (anemia). Your doctor may recommend blood transfusions to treat the anemia. Erythropoietin may also be used to increase your red blood cell production.
  • Infection
    A low white blood cell count increases your risk of infection. In order to stimulate your white blood cell production, your doctor may recommend using proteins that help the body produce white blood cells.  If you are taking treatment, your doctor may recommend an antibiotic or antiviral drug. If antibody levels are low, antibodies from donors can be given to raise levels and help prevent infections. This is called intravenous immunoglobulin or IVIG.
  • Abnormal Bleeding
    You may experience abnormal bleeding due to a low platelet count. Your doctor may recommend platelet transfusions to reduce the amount of the bleeding or slow it down.

    If you are experiencing a low platelet count because autoantibodies are destroying the cells, your doctor may recommend immunoglobulins or corticosteroids for treatment.
  • Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
    You may experience a low red blood cell count because autoantibodies are destroying the cells. This is an uncommon complication of CLL. Your doctor may recommend corticosteroids or immunoglobulins for treatment.