Treatment of childhood acute immune thrombocytopenic purpura with high-dose methylprednisolone, intravenous immunoglobulin, or the combination of both

P R Health Sci J. 2000 Mar;19(1):15-8.


Objective: To compare the effectiveness of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) alone, high dose methylprednisolone (HDMP) alone and the combination of IVIG and HDMP in the treatment of childhood immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).

Background: Acute ITP in children is a self-limited disease with a benign course and low mortality rate. Patients with platelet count less than 20,000 x 10(9)/L are at increased risk of bleeding complications, making them candidates for treatment.

Method: A 4 year retrospective study of 148 patients hospitalized with acute ITP was conducted to compare the effectiveness of HDMP vs IVIG vs the combination of IVIG/HDMP. Statistical methods used were descriptive statistics and variance analysis utilizing F distribution.

Results: The IVIG and the HDMP combination demonstrated to be superior to HDMP alone in raising the platelet count within the first 24 hours. The HDMP and IVIG combination was statistically a superior modality of treatment for patients with platelet count greater than 10,000 x 10(9)/L than was IVIG or HDMP alone. Intravenous immunoglobulin had the least effectiveness in patients with platelet count less then 10,000 x 10(9)/L within the first 24 hours.

Conclusions: IVIG followed by the combination of HDMP and IVIG is the most effective therapeutic modality in rapidly increasing the platelet count to safe levels in children with acute ITP when compared to HDMP alone within the first 24 hours. For borderline low platelet count (> 10,000 x 10(9)/L) HDMP and IVIG was superior to IVIG alone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / administration & dosage*
  • Platelet Count
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / blood
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistical Distributions
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Methylprednisolone