CLL Symptom Management: How to Reduce CLL-Related Fatigue

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Topics include: Living With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Patient Power community member Lulu from Armenia writes in, “While I’m in watch and wait, is there anything I can do to make the white cell count go down and alleviate fatigue?” Dr. William Wierda, from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, responds by giving expert recommendations for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) symptom management. CLL expert Dr. Wierda discusses clinical trial data-based tools to help decrease the lymphocyte count and treatments available for CLL patients struggling with fatigue to help boost energy levels.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

We also have had patients go on methylphenidate (Ritalin) or amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (Adderall).  That's a drug that's a stimulant.  It's used in hyperactive children, because it has the complete opposite effect for individuals who have hyperactivity attention deficit disorder. It calms them down and helps them focus. For patients with CLL sometimes it is helpful in giving more energy and boosting patients' energy level.  

So if I have a patient who is just really struggling with fatigue that hasn't responded to Adderall or Ritalin and doesn't have a large bulk of disease, I might try giving them some CD antibody to bring down the amount of disease.  And that also sometimes will improve temporarily the fatigue that the patients have.  Now, it's sort of a temporary fix.  It's not is good treatment for the CLL itself, and it's likely that the disease will need to be treated eventually, but that's something that I have had some success with at trying and improving the fatigue.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on September 4, 2019