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Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in adults: Initial treatment and prognosis

INTRODUCTION

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an acquired form of thrombocytopenia due to autoantibody-mediated destruction of platelets. ITP is a diagnosis of exclusion, characterized by isolated thrombocytopenia and the lack of a clinically-apparent condition responsible for the low platelet count; there are no reliable laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. (See "Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis".)

The major management decisions in the initial treatment of ITP are whether the patient needs therapy at all, and if so, which therapy to use. These decisions can be challenging because the goal of treatment is to prevent serious bleeding, but the risk of bleeding can be difficult to estimate for any individual patient. Serious bleeding is rare, and patients may be more likely to develop complications from the toxicities of therapy than they are to have serious bleeding.

The initial treatment and prognosis of ITP in adults is reviewed here. Second- and third-line therapies for adults who require additional treatment, and the management of ITP in children, who have a different clinical course from adults, are discussed separately. (See "Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in adults: Second- and third-line therapies" and "Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in children: Initial management" and "Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in children: Management of chronic disease".)  

TERMINOLOGY

We use the following terms herein; this terminology is consistent with a consensus statement from an international working group on ITP published in 2009 [1]:

Primary ITP – Primary ITP is acquired thrombocytopenia due to autoimmune platelet destruction, not triggered by an associated condition. (See "Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis".)

                     

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Literature review current through: Jun 2014. | This topic last updated: Jul 8, 2014.
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