Chronic immune thrombocytopenia in childhood

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Abstract

Chronic thrombocytopenias are pathological conditions defined as a persistent platelet count below the normal range for more than 6–12 months, clinically characterized by mucocutaneous bleeding. Recently, an International Working Group of expert clinicians has redefined standard terminology and definitions of primary and secondary chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). A document issued on acute childhood idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (AIEOP) provides parents and physicians with guidelines for the management of chronic ITP and gives prominence to the periodic re-evaluation of differential diagnosis. The majority of chronic ITP children do not require pharmacological treatments, especially if symptoms are absent or minimal and the treatment decision depends on several factors, in particular clinical conditions rather than platelets count. The recommendations distinguish three therapeutic strategies: emergency or symptomatic treatment, maintenance therapy and treatment aiming at definitive remission. Experimental/off-label treatment of chronic ITP are reported in the literature, such as the use of rituximab. Currently, other drugs (thrombopoiesis stimulating factors, mycophenolate, dapsone, danazol, azathioprine, rFVIIa, cyclophosphamide, vinca alkaloids and cyclosporine) are recommended in special cases or trials.

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