Efficacy of mycophenolate mofetil as single-agent therapy for refractory immune thrombocytopenic purpura

Am J Hematol. 2006 Jan;81(1):19-25. doi: 10.1002/ajh.20515.


Refractory disease occurs in 25% or more of adults with idiopathic (immune) thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Therapy to elevate the platelet count may be required in a proportion of these patients. Immunosuppressive agents such as prednisone, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, and cyclosporin have been shown to be effective treatments in a proportion of patients with refractory ITP. A newer immunosuppressive medication, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), has been used successfully with acceptable toxicity in solid organ transplant patients to reduce the risk of organ rejection. The goal of this study was to determine whether MMF is an effective treatment for refractory ITP. Efficacy, defined as a sustained platelet increase to a level greater than 50 x 10(9)/L, was seen in 7 of 18 patients with refractory ITP. Three of these 7 patients have had intermittent thrombocytopenic episodes while continuing the medication. No severe toxicity was seen, although two of the 18 patients discontinued MMF within the first month of treatment because of side effects, i.e., headache. In summary, MMF may be a useful component of a combination protocol but does not appear to be highly effective as sole therapy in patients with refractory ITP. The data suggests that response rates to MMF may be higher in patients who have had a shorter duration of their ITP.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy
  • Graft Rejection / mortality
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppression / mortality
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Organ Transplantation / mortality
  • Pilot Projects
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / drug therapy*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / etiology
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / mortality
  • Risk Factors


  • Drug Combinations
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid