Get access

Treatment practices in adults with chronic immune thrombocytopenia – a European perspective


Francesco Rodeghiero, Director of the Department of Cellular Therapy and Haematology, Ospedale S, Bortolo di Vicenza, Italy. Tel: +39 0444 753626; Fax: +39 0444 920708; e-mail:


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is characterised by platelet destruction and impaired production leading to isolated thrombocytopenia. The aim of this study, comprising a retrospective longitudinal cohort study complemented by a Delphi panel of 35 physicians, was to describe standard treatment practices and treating physician’s perception and preferences for available treatment options in chronic ITP. The medical records of 610 patients were reviewed over 12 months. Mean age at the start of the observational period was 54.6 yr, median platelet count 77 × 109/L with 41% of patients having symptoms of ITP. Treated patients (61%) received an average of 2.7 medications either for ITP or ITP treatment-related side effects. An array of products was used, but the most frequent were corticosteroids. Delphi panel physicians (45%) indicated the main goals for treatment were to increase platelet levels to at least 30 × 109/L to prevent bleeding or haemorrhage. The majority (89%) indicated that personal experience influenced treatment choice. Most (>80%) rated splenectomy and high-dose corticosteroids as the most effective but were concerned about side effects, and many (75%) would like access to interventions with improved efficacy and safety. The study highlights the need for updated evidence-based treatment guidelines to assist physicians in patient treatment decisions and to realise improvements in patient outcomes. It also identified perceived shortcomings of existing therapies and the need to establish an evidence base for newer interventions that could potentially make lasting response to treatment with fewer adverse effects an achievable goal.