What Are the Newest Treatments for ITP?

As of December 2014, the newest treatments for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP, are medications called romiplostim and eltrombopag, which boost the production of platelets in bone marrow, reports Mayo Clinic. As of August 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves eltrombopag for children one year and older as well as adults whose condition involves the danger of excessive bleeding. Other common treatments are corticosteroids, intravenous immune globulin, biological therapy and removal of the spleen.

ITP is a disorder that causes blood not to clot properly due to low platelet count, explains Mayo Clinic. Most children recover completely without treatment, but in adults the condition is often chronic and requires treatment. Possible side effects of using romiplostim and eltrombopag in adults include headaches, dizziness, nausea, muscle pain and risk of blood clots. The most frequent side effects in children are respiratory infections, rash, stomach pains and diarrhea, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA only approves eltrombopag for children if other medications and spleen surgery are not effective.

The most common primary treatment for ITP is corticosteroids, which raise platelet counts by suppressing the immune system, states Mayo Clinic. However, often in adults recovery is temporary, and long-term use of corticosteroids carries the risk of serious side effects. Intravenous immune globulin treatments are generally effective but temporary emergency measures. Removal of the spleen takes away the primary source of platelet loss but exposes the patient to ongoing risks of infection.