How is thrombocytopenia treated?
Dr. Michael Rosove is a Medical Oncologist in Los Angeles, CA and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles, School of Medicine.
Dr. Michael Rosove is a Medical Oncologist in Los Angeles, CA and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles, School of Medicine.See all of Michael Rosove, MD's answers.
Most people with lupus who have mild to moderate thrombocytopenia do not need treatment. When necessary, prednisone and intravenous gammaglobulin (called IV Ig) are commonly used. Other drugs, such as azathioprine or rituximab, also can help. As in hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells) due to antibodies, thrombocytopenia can sometimes be relieved by splenectomy. The doctor will advise whether non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used safely when thrombocytopenia is present.
Be sure to ask your doctor whether NSAIDs can be used safely when thrombocytopenia is present.
Treatment of Thrombocytopenia
The best treatment for thrombocytopenia is anticoagulation (blood thinning) medication, such as warfarin (Coumadin and generics). Warfarin is not safe to use during pregnancy due to the risk of birth defects in the middle of the first trimester, and a risk of fetal bleeding in the third trimester. Thus a woman who takes warfarin must switch to the injectable anticoagulant heparin or low molecular weight heparin as soon as she is pregnant. These are safe for the fetus.
Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs are not very effective antithrombic treatments when the problem is antiphospholipids. The best management of antiphospholipid pregnancy is not yet established, but often involves a combination of drugs. Careful, frequent monitoring of both mother and fetus by the obstetrician is an important part of overall care.
The Lupus Foundation of America would like to thank Michael Rosove, M.D., for this information.
Medically reviewed on September 03, 2013Submit a Question to the Experts