This study compared the efficacy and safety of high-dose dexamethasone (HD-DXM) and conventional prednisone (PDN) on the largest cohort to date as first-line strategies for newly diagnosed adult primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Patients enrolled were randomized to receive DXM 40 mg/d for 4 days (n = 95, nonresponders received an additional 4-day course of DXM) or prednisone 1.0 mg/kg daily for 4 weeks and then tapered (n = 97). One or 2 courses of HD-DXM resulted in a higher incidence of overall initial response (82.1% vs 67.4%, P = .044) and complete response (50.5% vs 26.8%, P = .001) compared with prednisone. Time to response was shorter in the HD-DXM arm (P < .001), and a baseline bleeding score ≥8 was associated with a decreased likelihood of initial response. Sustained response was achieved by 40.0% of patients in the HD-DXM arm and 41.2% in the PDN arm (P = .884). Initial complete response was a positive indicator of sustained response, whereas presence of antiplatelet autoantibodies was a negative indicator. HD-DXM was generally tolerated better. We concluded that HD-DXM could be a preferred corticosteroid strategy for first-line management of adult primary ITP. This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01356511.
© 2016 by The American Society of Hematology.