This article summarizes our approach to the management of children and adults with primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)who do not respond to, cannot tolerate, or are unwilling to undergo splenectomy.
We begin with a critical reassessment of the diagnosis and a deliberate attempt to exclude nonautoimmune causes of thrombocytopenia and secondary ITP. For patients in whom the diagnosis is affirmed, we consider observation without treatment.
Observation is appropriate for most asymptomatic patients with a platelet count of 20
to 30 3 109 /L or higher. We use a tiered approach to treat patients who require
therapy to increase the platelet count. Tier 1 options (rituximab, thrombopoietin receptor
agonists, low-dose corticosteroids) have a relatively favorable therapeutic index. We
exhaust all Tier 1 options before proceeding to Tier 2, which comprises a host
ofimmunosuppressive agents with relatively lower response rates and/or greater toxicity. We often prescribe Tier 2 drugs not alone but in combination with a Tier 1 or
a second Tier 2 drug with a different mechanism of action. We reserve Tier 3 strategies, which are of uncertain benefit and/or high toxicity with little supporting evidence, for the rare patient with serious bleeding who does not respond to Tier 1 and Tier 2 therapies. (Blood. 2016;128(12): 1547-1554)
BLOOD, 22 SEPTEMBER 2016 x VOLUME 128, NUMBER 12