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Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)

  • Alternative Names

    Immune thrombocytopenic purpura; ITP


    In children, the disease usually goes away without treatment. Some children, however, may need treatment.

    Adults are usually started on an anti-inflammatory steroid medicine called prednisone. In some cases, surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy) is recommended. This will increase the platelet count in about half of all patients. However, other drug treatments are usually recommended instead.

    If the disease does not get better with prednisone, other treatments may include:

    • A medicine called danazol (Danocrine) taken by mouth
    • Injections of high-dose gamma globulin (an immune factor)
    • Drugs that suppress the immune system
    • Filtering antibodies out of the blood stream
    • Anti-RhD therapy for people with certain blood types

    People with ITP should not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or warfarin because these drugs interfere with platelet function or blood clotting, and bleeding may occur.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    With treatment, the chance of remission (a symptom-free period) is good. Rarely, ITP may become a long-term condition in adults and reappear, even after a symptom-free period.


    Sudden and severe loss of blood from the digestive tract may occur. Bleeding into the brain may also occur.

    Calling your health care provider

    Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if severe bleeding occurs, or if other new symptoms develop.