In some cases of autoimmune hemolysis, medications may attach to red cells, leading to targeting for destruction by the immune system. The most common are penicillin and its relatives, cephalosporins, quinidine, and some anti-inflammatory drugs.
In most cases, however, abnormal immune function leads the body to attack normal red blood cells. Causes of the underlying abnormal immune function include:
- Viral infections (including mononucleosis )
- Mycoplasma pneumonia
- Lymphoma ( Non-Hodgkin’s but also occasionally Hodgkin’s )
- Collagen-vascular (autoimmune) diseases (eg, lupus )
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
The following factors increase your chance of developing autoimmune hemolytic anemia:
- Recent viral infections
- Current medications of the types that can cause autoimmune hemolytic anemia
- Cancer or leukemia
- Collagen-vascular (autoimmune) disease
- Family history of hemolytic disease