You can feel your best!

Partnering with your doctor is the first step toward taking charge!

Here’s the good news: Your dreams of freedom—from the worry of crashing platelets, spontaneous bruises and bleeds, and the frustration of being held back by immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)—are within reach. Although there is no cure for ITP, the right treatment can help you manage your ITP and live life to the fullest. The key to unlocking that potential? Working closely with your doctor toward a common treatment goal: remission. The treatment that’s right for you can help keep your platelets at a level that lowers your risk of bleeding incidents—potentially, for the rest of your life!

Take charge!
If your ITP is mild, you may only need to get regular platelet checks so your doctor can monitor you. But if you do need treatment, you have many options to consider. Together with your doctor, you may decide on a single treatment or a combination of treatments to maintain your platelets at a level that gives you the quality of life you desire. You may also rely on other treatments to boost your platelets quickly if they drop dangerously low. 
Important to know: ITP is different for everyone, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.  And because the disease can change over time, you may need to try different treatments to find the one that works best for you. So, be patient! And don’t be discouraged if the therapies you’ve tried have not been effective—with so many options available, there’s every hope that one of them will be your key to remission.

Your choice of which medication to use depends on many factors, which is why you should never hold back when talking with your healthcare provider. Knowing how you’re feeling, how ITP affects your daily life and the type of treatment you prefer—for example, a pill rather than an injection or infusion—will help your doctor determine which therapy to try. Also, never skip a blood test, as your doctor uses the results to assess how well your treatment is working and how to adjust your dosage. Current options include the following:

  • Corticosteroids, including prednisone and dexamethasone, decrease the immune system activity that destroys platelets. Corticosteroids are often the first ITP therapy your doctor prescribes, but are also used as emergency treatment, given in the hospital by IV, if your platelets fall dangerously low.
  • Platelet growth factors, such as eltrombopag (daily pill) and romiplostim (weekly injection), are also referred to as thrombopoietin receptor agonists (or TPO-receptor agonists). They increase platelets by stimulating your bone marrow to produce more platelets, but do not affect the rate of platelet destruction. May be recommended after a first relapse on steroids.
  • Immunosuppressants, such as rituximab, given by infusion, also suppress the immune system response that destroys platelets.
  • Immunoglobulins (IVIG), given by infusion, help to quickly increase your platelet count and may be used as emergency treatment.

Additional treatments

  • Platelet transfusion may be administered if you are hospitalized with bleeding and very low platelets. Donor platelets from a blood bank are used to boost your supply of platelets temporarily.
  • Splenectomy is surgery to remove the spleen, the organ that traps platelets and destroys them. By removing the spleen, more platelets remain in the blood. This surgery is effective in over 60% of ITP patients but may raise your risk for infection and blood clots.

What you can do
To manage your ITP so you can live your life with confidence, work closely with your doctor and follow your treatment plan to the letter. Monitor your progress and get blood work on schedule, per your doctor’s instruction. And talk about your symptoms and any side effects you’re having—it can help your doctor understand if your treatment needs to be adjusted. Talking frankly about how you’re doing and discussing your preferences—i.e., pill or injection—with your doctor will help you find the therapy that’s right for you. Best of all, it will give you the confidence to enjoy your favorite activities without worry. 

Is your treatment all it could be?
Platelet growth factors fight back against ITP.
Most ITP treatments work by preventing platelets from being destroyed. But many people with ITP have trouble producing platelets, which can partially account for their low platelet levels. Platelet growth factors, or TPO-receptor agonists, boost the production of platelets by stimulating cells in the bone marrow to manufacture platelets. How do you know if you might benefit from this type of treatment? If you’ve been on treatment and you still have low platelet counts, a platelet growth factor medication may help boost your platelet counts and even enable you to stop other ITP medications, such as corticosteroids or IVIG. In some cases, long-term treatment with a platelet growth factor may be necessary.

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