Successful treatment of refractory thrombocytopenia with mycophenolate mofetil in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus

J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Oct;20(5):883-5. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2005.20.5.883.


While mild thrombocytopenia in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is frequently seen in the context of active disease, severe thrombocytopenia causing significant bleeding is not that common. Corticosteroids are considered the first line therapy for severe thrombocytopenia in SLE. Second-line therapeutic agents or splenectomy have been reported to be effective for patients who fail to respond to steroids or those who require moderate doses of steroids to maintain the platelet counts. Recent randomized controlled studies have shown that mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is an efficacious and safe therapeutic agent in patients with proliferative forms of lupus nephritis. However, little information has been available regarding the role of MMF in the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia complicated with SLE. Hereby I describe a patient with SLE in whom thrombocytopenia was refractory to corticosteroids, intermittent intravenous cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, cyclosporine, intravenous gamma globulin, danazol, and splenectomy, and whose platelet counts eventually normalized during therapy with MMF. In this patient, thrombocytopenia is initially thought to be associated with active SLE involving major organ. However, after immunosuppressive agents were given, the refractory nature of thrombocytopenia seems to be an isolated phenomenon, independently of SLE activity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Penicillin G Benzathine / therapeutic use
  • Thrombocytopenia / drug therapy*
  • Thrombocytopenia / etiology*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Penicillin G Benzathine