Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a
ITP is sometimes called immune thrombocytopenic purpura.
Immune thrombocytopenic purpura; ITP
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
ITP occurs when certain immune system cells produce
The antibodies attach to the platelets. The spleen destroys the platelets that carry the antibodies.
In children, the disease sometimes follows a viral infection. In adults, it is more often a chronic (long-term) disease and can occur after a viral infection, with use of certain drugs, during pregnancy, or as part of an immune disorder.
ITP affects women more frequently than men, and is more common in children than adults. The disease affects boys and girls equally.
- Abnormally heavy menstruation
Bleeding into the skincauses a characteristic skin rash that looks like pinpoint red spots (petechial rash)
- Easy bruising
- Nosebleed or bleeding in the mouth
Signs and tests
Laboratory tests will be done to see how well your blood clots and to check your platelet count.
- A complete blood count (
CBC) shows a low number of platelets.
- Blood clotting tests (
PTTand PT) are normal.
- Bleeding time is prolonged.
Platelet associated antibodiesmay be detected.
In children, the disease usually goes away without treatment. Some children, however, may need treatment.
Adults are usually started on an anti-inflammatory steroid medicine called prednisone. In some cases, surgery to remove the spleen (
If the disease does not get better with prednisone, other treatments may include:
- A medicine called danazol (Danocrine) taken by mouth
- Injections of high-dose gamma globulin (an immune factor)
- Drugs that suppress the immune system
- Filtering antibodies out of the blood stream
- Anti-RhD therapy for people with certain blood types
People with ITP should not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or warfarin because these drugs interfere with platelet function or blood clotting, and bleeding may occur.
With treatment, the chance of remission (a symptom-free period) is good. Rarely, ITP may become a long-term condition in adults and reappear, even after a symptom-free period.
Sudden and severe loss of blood from the digestive tract may occur. Bleeding into the brain may also occur.
Calling your health care provider
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if severe bleeding occurs, or if other new symptoms develop.
The causes and risk factors are unknown, except in children when it may be related to a viral infection. Prevention methods are unknown.