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Am J Hematol. 1996 Jan;51(1):37-44.

Recombinant human interferon alpha-2b (rh IFN alpha-2b) therapy for steroid resistant idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).

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Department of Internal Medicine, Hiroshima University, Japan.


The efficacy of recombinant human interferon alpha-2b (rh IFN alpha-2b) in the treatment of steroid resistant idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) was studied in 50 cases. Forty-one patients treated with rh IFN alpha-2b three times a week, six of 18 (33.3%) in the low dose group (150 x 10(4)IU: 3 MIU) and four of 20 (20.0%) in the high dose group (300 x 10(4)IU: 3 MIU) responded with platelet counts increasing to above 50 x 10(9)/L. Because of the exacerbation of thrombocytopenia and nasal bleeding, treatment was discontinued within 2 weeks in three patients out of 41 cases. On the other hand, six of nine patients (66.7%) treated with 3 MIU of IFN alpha-2b once a week for 8 weeks showed satisfactory response. Treatment with either administration schedule did not result in sustaining platelet counts above 50 x 10(9)/L for a long time after treatment. The results indicate that once a week administration schedule of rh IFN alpha-2b is more efficacious for platelet counts increasing for short period in patients who failed to respond to steroid and other medications than other schedules. The maintenance of this treatment schedule will allow sustained increased platelet levels, resulting in relief of bleeding tendency, while also being cost effective in comparison with other IFN treatment schedules and achieving better patient compliance without flu-like symptoms.

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