Diagnoses & Conditions

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Understanding Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

ITP, also known as primary immune thrombocytopenic purpura and autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura, is a platelet disorder. Sometimes ITP is referred to as “chronic ITP”. With ITP the blood does not clot as it should due to low platelets.

Symptoms of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Common symptoms of ITP include bleeding into the skin (petechiae) and may appear as small red spots under the skin caused by leaking from blood vessels, bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding from gums, blood in urine or stool, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fatigue. ITP also may not present with any symptoms at all.

Diagnosing Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Diagnosing ITP includes a thorough review of a patient's medical history and physical examination. A careful review of medications the patient is taking is important as some drugs may be associated with thrombocytopenia. A complete blood count (CBC) which measures the platelet count as well as the number of other blood cells, a blood smear to examine the platelets. Testing may include bone marrow tests and a blood test to check for an antibody that attacks platelets.

Treating Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

The treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is determined by the platelet count and the severity of the symptoms. In some cases, no therapy is needed. In most cases, drugs that alter the immune system's attack on the platelet are prescribed. ITP is commonly treated with corticosteroids but may also be treated with other medications including eltrombopag (Promacta®), immune globulin administered into the blood stream intravenously (IVIG), and romiplostim (NPlate®).


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This content is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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