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Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP): Treatments

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a bleeding disorder. In ITP, the blood doesn't clot as it should. This is due to a low number of blood cell fragments called platelets or thrombocytes.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

About Immune Thrombocytopenia Treatments

Treatment for immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is based on how much and how often you're bleeding and your platelet count.

Adults who have mild ITP may not need any treatment, other than watching their symptoms and platelet counts. Adults who have ITP with very low platelet counts or bleeding problems often are treated.

The acute (short-term) type of ITP that occurs in children often goes away within a few weeks or months. Children who have bleeding symptoms, other than merely bruising (purpura), usually are treated.

Children who have mild ITP may not need treatment other than monitoring and followup to make sure their platelet counts return to normal.

Medicines

Medicines often are used as the first course of treatment for both children and adults.

Corticosteroids (cor-ti-co-STEER-roids), such as prednisone, are commonly used to treat ITP. These medicines, called steroids for short, help increase your platelet count....Read more about Immune Thrombocytopenia: Treatments
NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Drug therapy for treating idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura during pregnancy

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an immune‐mediated hematologic disorder caused by a low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Antiplatelet antibodies act against the platelets resulting in platelet destruction by the spleen. In adults, the clinical features of ITP often have an insidious onset and are highly variable, ranging from no symptoms, mild bruising, to mucosal bleeding, and skin discolorations. Management of ITP during pregnancy is complex because of large differences between maternal and fetal platelet counts. The circulating antibodies can cross the placenta and cause a neonatal passive immune thrombocytopenia that may increase the risk of cerebral haemorrhage in the newborn infant. For this reason, it seems reasonable that cesarean section delivery is safer for the infant than vaginal delivery yet the mode of delivery may not affect the rate of haemorrhage. Many different pharmacological interventions are used for treating this medical disorder and treatment for ITP in pregnant women is not standardised. Some of these drugs have potential side effects for pregnant women and some can cause fetal malformation.

Management of adult patients with persistent idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura following splenectomy: a systematic review

This review evaluated interventions (mostly drug treatments) for patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (low platelet count) persisting after standard treatment with glucocorticoids and splenectomy. The authors concluded that there is minimal evidence for the effectiveness of any available treatment. Despite the methodological limitations of the review, the low quantity and quality of the available evidence support the authors' conclusion.

A review of anti-D treatment of childhood idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

The authors concluded that a single dose of 50 μg/kg IV Rh(D) immunoglobulin G (anti-D) was effective in raising the platelet count to at least 20 x109/L in approximately 70% of children within 3 days, with fewer side-effects than intravenous immunoglobulin G. Given the lack of a formal validity assessment and the potential for error and bias in the review, the conclusions should be treated with caution.

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Summaries for consumers

Drug therapy for treating idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura during pregnancy

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an immune‐mediated hematologic disorder caused by a low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Antiplatelet antibodies act against the platelets resulting in platelet destruction by the spleen. In adults, the clinical features of ITP often have an insidious onset and are highly variable, ranging from no symptoms, mild bruising, to mucosal bleeding, and skin discolorations. Management of ITP during pregnancy is complex because of large differences between maternal and fetal platelet counts. The circulating antibodies can cross the placenta and cause a neonatal passive immune thrombocytopenia that may increase the risk of cerebral haemorrhage in the newborn infant. For this reason, it seems reasonable that cesarean section delivery is safer for the infant than vaginal delivery yet the mode of delivery may not affect the rate of haemorrhage. Many different pharmacological interventions are used for treating this medical disorder and treatment for ITP in pregnant women is not standardised. Some of these drugs have potential side effects for pregnant women and some can cause fetal malformation.

Treatment for speech disorder in Friedreich ataxia and other hereditary ataxia syndromes (inherited disorders of movement co‐ordination)

We reviewed the evidence about the effects of treatment on speech difficulties in people with Friedreich ataxia and other hereditary ataxias.

More about Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP): Treatments

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Other terms to know:
Autoimmune Disease, Blood Plasma, Platelets (Thrombocytes)

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