Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody-mediated destruction of platelets. The disease generally runs a mild clinical course, though significant morbidity and mortality can occur. Steroids and/or splenectomy are effective in treating the disease in approximately 70% of patients. These treatments have been well established with approximately 50 years of clinical experience. While open splenectomy is the traditional surgical procedure, laparoscopic splenectomy, splenic artery embolization, and splenic irradiation are viable alternatives. For patients who relapse after the above therapies, treatment is more difficult and seldom results in a cure. The goals of therapy involve maintaining a safe platelet count while minimizing toxicities from the treatment. Multiple treatment options exist including corticosteroids, androgens, immunomodulatory drugs, cytotoxic chemotherapy, immunoglobulin preparations, bone marrow transplantation, Helicobacter pylori eradication, and others. While the standard treatment of steroids and splenectomy has changed little over the past decades, a number of promising new therapies on the horizon may soon join the armamentarium upon which the clinician can draw to fight the disease. In this review, we will examine treatment for chronic ITP in adults in the pre-splenectomy, splenectomy, and post-splenectomy settings.
- Immune thrombocytopenic purpura
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