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Semin Hematol. 1998 Jan;35(1 Suppl 1):58-64.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura: Treatment patterns and an analysis of cost associated with intravenous immunoglobulin and anti-D therapy.

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  • 1University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill 27599, USA.


A retrospective study was conducted to determine treatment patterns for idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) across the US and to determine the cost of its treatment with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and anti-D therapy. Information on the incidence, treatment patterns, hospital care, and costs for ITP was derived from three data bases and supplemented by in-depth case studies from five hospital centers in the US. Data collection forms were developed to collect data on treatment patterns and costs at the five hospital centers. Treatment patterns were analyzed and used to model the comparative costs of IVIg and anti-D therapy. Cost estimations were based on a process and cost-finding analysis reflecting current practice patterns for the use of IVIg and anti-D therapy in an outpatient clinic. The incidence of ITP was estimated at 65 per 10,000 in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals and 1.5 per 10,000 in HIV-negative individuals. Hospital discharge data from all 1991 and 1992 hospital discharges in Maryland revealed that both Medicare patients and patients who had other payment options spent less time in hospital compared to Medicaid patients. The limited case study data indicate that anti-D therapy increased platelet counts to greater than 25,000/microL in 82% of evaluable episodes and that IVIg-treated patients reached 25,000/microL in 48% of treated episodes. The estimated cost per treated episode of ITP was $4,269 for IVIg and $2,716 for anti-D therapy, reflecting a cost savings of $1,553 per episode. This retrospective study has shown that the use of anti-D therapy is associated with lower costs compared with IVIg treatment in patients with ITP. The shorter infusion time required for anti-D therapy may also contribute to a better quality of life for patients.

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