If the doctor thinks a drug is the cause of the thrombocytopenia, standard treatment involves discontinuing the drug’s use. If infection is present, it’s treated vigorously. Control of the infection may result in a return of the platelet count to normal.
The treatment of ITP is determined by the severity of the symptoms. In some cases, no therapy is needed. In most cases, drugs that alter the immune system’s attack on the platelet are prescribed. These include:
- Corticosteroids (i.e., prednisone)
- Intravenous infusions of immune globulin (IVIG). Except in certain situations (e.g., internal bleeding and preparation for surgery), platelet transfusions usually are not beneficial and therefore, are seldom performed
- Platelet growth factors or immune suppressants
Because all therapies can have risks, it is important that over-treatment be avoided. In some instances lifestyle adjustments may be helpful for prevention of bleeding due to injury. Otherwise, patients usually can carry on normal activities, but final decisions about activity should be made in consultation with the patient’s hematologist.