A Review of Romiplostim Mechanism of Action and Clinical Applicability

Drug Des Devel Ther. 2021 May 26:15:2243-2268. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S299591. eCollection 2021.


Thrombocytopenia results from a variety of conditions, including radiation, chemotherapy, autoimmune disease, bone marrow disorders, pathologic conditions associated with surgical procedures, hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), and hematologic disorders associated with severe aplastic anemia. Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is caused by immune reactions that accelerate destruction and reduce production of platelets. Thrombopoietin (TPO) is a critical component of platelet production pathways, and TPO receptor agonists (TPO-RAs) are important for the management of ITP by increasing platelet production and reducing the need for other treatments. Romiplostim is a TPO-RA approved for use in patients with ITP in the United States, European Union, Australia, and several countries in Africa and Asia, as well as for use in patients with refractory aplastic anemia in Japan and Korea. Romiplostim binds to and activates the TPO receptor on megakaryocyte precursors, thus promoting cell proliferation and viability, resulting in increased platelet production. Through this mechanism, romiplostim reduces the need for other treatments and decreases bleeding events in patients with thrombocytopenia. In addition to its efficacy in ITP, studies have shown that romiplostim is effective in improving platelet counts in various settings, thereby highlighting the versatility of romiplostim. The efficacy of romiplostim in such disorders is currently under investigation. Here, we review the structure, mechanism, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of romiplostim. We also summarize the clinical evidence supporting its use in ITP and other disorders that involve thrombocytopenia, including chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia, aplastic anemia, acute radiation syndrome, perisurgical thrombocytopenia, post-HSCT thrombocytopenia, and liver disease.

Keywords: immune thrombocytopenia; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; structure; thrombopoietin receptor agonist.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / drug therapy*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / immunology
  • Receptors, Fc / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Thrombopoietin / chemistry
  • Thrombopoietin / pharmacokinetics*


  • Receptors, Fc
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Thrombopoietin
  • romiplostim