Matzdorff, Axel C.; Arnold, Gabriele; Salama, Abdulgabar; Ostermann, Helmut; Eberle, Sonja; Hummler, Simone
Advances in ITP - therapy and quality of life - a patient survey.
In: PLOS ONE
Current guidelines recommend glucocorticoids and splenectomy as standard 1(st) and 2(nd) line treatments for chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). We sought to find out how German ITP-patients are treated with respect to these guidelines. Members of a patient support association ≥18 years with a self-reported history of chronic ITP>12 months were surveyed with a web-based questionnaire. 122 questionnaires were evaluated. 70% of patients had chronic ITP for more than 5 years and 20% an average platelet count of ≤30·10(9)/L. 41% of the patients reported haematomas or petechiae more than once or twice and up to 12 times or more per year and 17% oropharyngeal and nasal bleeds. 11% had been admitted to hospital during the last 12 months. 88% had received or currently receive glucocorticoids, 27% were splenectomised. IVIG had been given to 55%, rituximab to 22%, anti-D to 12%, ciclosporin to 7%, while complementary and alternative medical treatments had been used by 36%. 50 women responded to questions concerning pregnancy. 14 (28%) had been advised not to become pregnant. 23 reported pregnancies and 10 (44%) required treatment for their ITP during pregnancy. Glucocorticoids are the most common therapy for chronic ITP but complementary and alternative treatments already come second and less than ⅓ of patients are splenectomised. This and the frequent use of complementary medicines suggests patients' dissatisfaction with conventional approaches. Many patients receive off-label therapies. There is a major need for adequate counselling and care for pregnant ITP-patients.