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Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura
(Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura; ITP)
- Lasts less than six months.
- Usually occurs in children.
- Most common type of ITP.
- Lasts longer than six months.
- Usually occurs in adults.
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- Children with a recent viral infection or live virus vaccination
- Women—2-3 times more likely to get ITP than men
- Women younger than 40
- Easy bruising
- Blood in urine or stools
- Bleeding for longer than normal following an injury
- Unexplained nosebleeds
- Bleeding from the gums
- In adult women, heavier-than-normal menstrual periods
- Red dots—may occur in groups and resemble a rash
- Bleeding within the intestinal tract or brain—rare
- Analyze levels of different blood cells, including platelets
- Test your blood's clotting ability
- Look for infections or other medical issues associated with ITP
- Eliminate other medical conditions
- Steroids to lower the activity of the immune system. This will decrease the destruction of platelets.
- Gamma globulin infusions to slow down platelet destruction. An infusion means that it is given by IV or through a shot. It usually works more quickly than steroids.
- Take precautions in your child's environment. Consider padding an infant's crib or play area.
- Make sure that older children wear helmets and protective gear when playing sports. This will help to reduce bruising injuries.
- Consider temporarily stopping contact sports such as football and rough game playing when platelet counts are low.
- Avoid medications that contain aspirin or ibuprofen. These medicines can reduce platelet activity.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Canadian Medical Association Journal http://www.cmaj.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Bussel JB; Cheng G; et al. Eltrombopag for the treatment of chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. N Engl J Med. 2007 Nov 29;357(22):2237-2247.
Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 28, 2013. Accessed July 11, 2013.
George JN, Woolf SH, et al. Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: a practice guideline developed by explicit methods for The American Society of Hematology. Available at: http://www.ouhsc.edu/platelets/itp/ITP%20Publications/pub2%5F1.pdf. Accessed July 11, 2013.
Karpatkin S. Autoimmune (idiopathic) thrombocytopenic purpura. Lancet. 1997;349:1531-1536.
Newland A, Caulier MT, et al. An open-label, unit dose-finding study of AMG 531, a novel thrombopoiesis-stimulating peptibody, in patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura. Br J Haematol. 2006 Nov;135(4):547-553.
What is immune thrombocytopenia? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/itp/. Updated March 14, 2012. Accessed July 11, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 07/2013
- Update Date: 05/11/2013