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Immune Thrombocytopenia in Children: Consensus and Controversies

Abstract

Newly diagnosed immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a relatively common disorder of childhood that does not require an exhaustive laboratory workup for diagnosis. A history and physical exam with a review of the peripheral smear are crucial for excluding secondary causes of thrombocytopenia. Several guidelines have been published to guide physicians in the management of ITP. However, the decision for treatment can be arduous. The management strategy should not be focussed on the platelet count but the severity of bleeding symptoms. Agents for treating acute ITP, including corticosteroids, immunoglobulin and anti-D immunoglobulin, do not seem to have a significant impact on the natural history of the disease. The majority of children with ITP do not need therapy and have a spontaneous resolution of the disease. Some children can develop chronic ITP that is not commonly life-threatening but can lead to impaired quality of life. Traditional therapies such as rituximab and splenectomy for chronic ITP are not without significant adverse effects. Thrombopoietin receptor agonists are newer agents for the treatment of chronic ITP and hold promise, however, their cost currently precludes use in most of the patients in low-middle-income countries. This review compares and contrasts the specific treatments available for the treatment of ITP to help the reader make a balanced choice. This review, based on a series of case examples, will help physicians in making decisions about choosing a practical management strategy for patients with newly diagnosed as well as chronic ITP.

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Author information

GS drafted the initial manuscript. DB and NAMW provided critical guidance and review of the manuscript. NAMW is the guarantor for this paper.

Correspondence to Nicola A. M. Wright.

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Singh, G., Bansal, D. & Wright, N.A.M. Immune Thrombocytopenia in Children: Consensus and Controversies. Indian J Pediatr 87, 150–157 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12098-019-03155-4

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Keywords

  • ITP
  • Anti-D
  • Romiplostim
  • Eltrombopag
  • Dapsone