Thrombopoietin receptor agonists, biologic therapies, corticosteroids and intravenous immune globulin are used to stimulate platelet production in people who have low platelet counts, states Mayo Clinic. Increasing platelet counts helps prevent bleeding problems.
Eltrombopag and romiplostim are TPO agonists used in the treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, explains the Platelet Disorder Support Association. People with ITP have low platelet levels, resulting in easy bleeding and bruising. Eltrombopag is taken orally once per day, while romiplostim is taken weekly via an injection under the skin. Both drugs are used to increase platelet counts to approximately 50,000 cells per microliter.
Corticosteroids and biologic therapies increase platelet count by inhibiting the immune response, reports Mayo Clinic. One of the corticosteroids most often used in the treatment of ITP is prednisone. Because long-term use of prednisone can have serious side effects, some people take the drug just long enough to bring their platelet counts back to safe levels. If corticosteroids don't work, rituximab is another drug that can increase platelet count by inhibiting immune system activity. Intravenous immune globulin increases platelet counts quickly, so it is often used before surgery.
In patients with severe ITP, immunosuppressants, such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide, may be used to prevent the immune system from destroying healthy platelets, notes Mayo Clinic. These drugs can cause dizziness, low blood pressure and other serious side effects.