We have carried out a literature review on diagnosis and treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) in adults, based on the articles published during the years 2000–2005, aimed at assessing the variability in the terminology and clinical definitions. A total of 85 articles were considered eligible. In particular, the platelet level for initiating treatment, the definition of response to treatment in terms of platelet count and timing, the evaluation of bleeding symptoms, the criteria to define chronic and refractory forms were compared in the different articles. The study revealed confounding terminology and an unacceptable heterogeneity for clinical definitions relevant to management decisions and outcomes reporting. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2006;47:653–656. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.