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Semin Oncol. 2000 Dec;27(6 Suppl 12):91-8.

Overview of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: new approach to refractory patients.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a disorder in which autoantibodies are made to platelets, resulting in accelerated platelet destruction. The diagnosis may be made in outpatients who are previously well or in patients with multiple medical conditions and medications. There are no unequivocal ways to distinguish immune thrombocytopenias from other thrombocytopenias, even with state-of-the-art tests including anti-platelet antibodies, thrombopoietin, glycocalicin, and platelet reticulocyte counts. Clinical evaluation includes ruling out a systemic process such as a viral infection or leukemia. Treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura should be individualized. Substantial platelet increases are seen in more than 50% of patients who receive intravenous IgG, intravenous anti-D, steroids, or splenectomy. Two additional agents showing promising clinical trial experience are anti-CD40 ligand and rituximab (Rituxan; Genentech, Inc, South San Francisco, CA and IDEC Pharmaceutical Corporation, San Diego, CA).

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