5915 Landerbrook Dr, Suite 110   |   Mayfield Heights, OH44124   |   Phone: 216-381-3333   |   Fax: 440-443-0700   |   ois@allergycleveland.com
Top Rated Allergists & Asthma Specialists in Cleveland & Northeast Ohio

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Chronic medical conditions like ITP can threaten your everyday life if not properly managed. It’s natural to want relief from your symptoms, but every treatment comes with unique concerns. Ohio Infusion Services understands and aims to keep you well-informed about your infusion therapy treatment options. Together we can get you on the road to feeling better.

What Is Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)?

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)–also known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura–is a chronic autoimmune blood disorder. Thrombocytopenia refers to a low level of platelets, and purpura describes the hallmark discoloration of the skin that is common for ITP patients. ITP is fairly common and both adults and children can develop the condition. 

With ITP, white blood cells called T-cells in a patient’s immune system attack their platelets. This is usually in response to antibody production against those platelets. This condition naturally will reduce platelet levels in the patient’s bloodstream. Since platelets are responsible for blood clotting–which prevents excessive blood loss–an ITP patient could bleed for a long time following an injury. The propensity to high blood loss is part of what makes this condition threatening.

ITP can be found in at least two forms:

  1. Acute thrombocytopenic purpura: This form of ITP typically occurs in young children (2-6 yrs) following a viral illness. The condition will generally start suddenly, with symptoms concluding in a few weeks to a few months and not recurring.
  2. Chronic thrombocytopenic purpura: The chronic form of ITP can develop at any age, with symptoms lasting for months, years, or for a lifetime. Children and adolescents can develop chronic ITP, but it is most common in adult females. Symptoms can recur and the patient’s condition will likely require regular follow-up with a hematologist.

Potential triggers for ITP:

  • Medications that cause an allergy and cross-react with platelets
  • Viral infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Certain lymphomas and leukemias
  • Pregnancy

Signs and symptoms of ITP may include:

  • Nosebleeds or bleeding from the gums
  • Increased bleeding following injury
  • Mystery “bruises” (purpura)–purple, red, or brownish-yellow areas on the skin or around the joints
  • Tiny flat red dots under the skin (petechiae)
  • Unusually heavy menstrual flow
  • Blood in various bodily functions (vomit, stool, urine)
  • Extreme tiredness

In general, and when considered on their own, the symptoms of ITP can often be mistaken for another condition. A patient’s physician can run various tests to confirm that the antibodies that attack platelets are present. It’s possible that HIV, hepatitis C, or Heliobacter pylori could be linked to ITP, so a screen for these conditions might also be done if a patient is at risk. Additional tests might include a complete blood count, various blood and urine tests, and a bone marrow aspiration, along with a careful review of current medications.

Infusion Therapy for Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Acute cases will generally clear up on their own, but chronic ITP will likely require some sort of treatment. Once a physician has run tests and confirmed that their patient has a chronic case of ITP, they may recommend infusion therapy as a treatment option. 

Ohio Infusion Services offers IV infusion therapy for ITP with Gammaked, Gamunex-C, Octagam, Panzyga and Privigen intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) infusion therapies. The drugs vary in their use on certain age groups–a personal doctor and the team at Ohio Infusion Services can let each patient know which therapy is best for them. All of these medications work to increase platelet counts in order to control bleeding, especially in preparation for surgery. Intravenous infusions are given once every 3 to 4 weeks, or twice on consecutive days at 3-week intervals. Depending on the medication, a patient might also take a maintenance dose following treatment. Dosage depends on age and body weight, and the length of time for each infusion will depend on the specific medication used.

Side Effects of Infusion Therapy for Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Every treatment carries its own risks, and IVIg infusion therapy for ITP is no different. Gammaked, Gamunex-C, Octagam, Panzyga and Privigen are considered to be safe, but medications can react differently in everyone's body.

The most common reactions to these approved, intravenous therapies are:

  • Headache
  • Bruising
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Abdominal pain and/or indigestion
  • Back pain

As with any medication a detailed list of possible side effects or potential interactions is available—your prescribing physician can discuss the ins and outs of what to look out for. Some of the signs of a bad reaction might be:

  • Decreased urine output, sudden weight gain, fluid retention/edema, and/or unexplained shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Pain, warmth, and/or swelling of an arm or leg; discoloration of an arm or leg
  • Unexplained rapid pulse, numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Severe headache, neck stiffness, drowsiness, fever, sensitivity to light, painful eye movements, nausea, and vomiting
  • Unusual fatigue, yellowing of the skin or eyes, and dark-colored urine

While undergoing treatment at Ohio Infusion Services, you can rest assured that as you receive premium care in the privacy of your own suite, trained medical staff is always nearby. If you experience any troubling symptoms, they can help. If after leaving our facility you experience anything unusual or any of the above symptoms, they could be evidence of potentially dangerous blood clotting–please seek immediate medical attention. Keep in touch with your physician and inform them of any unusual symptoms you notice.

What to Expect From Infusion Therapy for Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

After you talk with your doctor and decide to proceed with an IVIg infusion therapy, they will need to issue a referral to our facility. While here for your treatment, our skilled and knowledgeable staff will be happy to review your treatment plan and discuss what you need to know about infusion therapy. An on-site physician or nurse will oversee your first treatment to ensure that your dosage is well tolerated. After the initial session you will have full, private access to your own treatment suite for the duration of your infusion. We hope that the IVIg infusion therapy will help your ITP symptoms right away, but medications can take some time to reach their full effect.

If Your Doctor Has Prescribed IVIg Infusion Therapy, Let Ohio Infusion Services Help You

The process to work with us is simple. We first need a referral from your physician. But in the meantime, please fill out a new patient form to let us know you're interested. Our staff will then reach out to you to discuss. We work with most common insurance providers and can get your medication ordered and infusion scheduled as soon as we have your information on file. We are open Monday through Friday and have locations in Mayfield Heights and North Olmsted.

Our Ohio Infusion Services staff will do all they can to streamline this process and get your treatment underway. If you'd like to learn more or find out whether we can offer infusion  for your specific condition, please call us at 216-381-3333 or submit an online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you and are here to help.