How we treat primary immune thrombocytopenia in adults

J Hematol Oncol. 2023 Jan 19;16(1):4. doi: 10.1186/s13045-023-01401-z.


Primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an immune-mediated bleeding disorder characterized by decreased platelet counts and an increased risk of bleeding. Multiple humoral and cellular immune abnormalities result in accelerated platelet destruction and suppressed platelet production in ITP. The diagnosis remains a clinical exclusion of other causes of thrombocytopenia. Treatment is not required except for patients with active bleeding, severe thrombocytopenia, or cases in need of invasive procedures. Corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, and anti-RhD immunoglobulin are the classical initial treatments for newly diagnosed ITP in adults, but these agents generally cannot induce a long-term response in most patients. Subsequent treatments for patients who fail the initial therapy include thrombopoietic agents, rituximab, fostamatinib, splenectomy, and several older immunosuppressive agents. Other potential therapeutic agents, such as inhibitors of Bruton's tyrosine kinase and neonatal Fc receptor, are currently under clinical evaluation. An optimized treatment strategy should aim at elevating the platelet counts to a safety level with minimal toxicity and improving patient health-related quality of life, and always needs to be tailored to the patients and disease phases. In this review, we address the concepts of adult ITP diagnosis and management and provide a comprehensive overview of current therapeutic strategies under general and specific situations.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Platelets; Primary immune thrombocytopenia; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Platelets
  • Humans
  • Platelet Count
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic* / diagnosis
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic* / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Thrombocytopenia*