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Consensus Paper—ICIS Expert Meeting Basel 2009 treatment milestones in immune thrombocytopenia


The rarity of severe complications of this disease in children makes randomized clinical trials in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) unfeasible. Therefore, the current management recommendations for ITP are largely dependent on clinical expertise and observations. As part of its discussions during the Intercontinental Cooperative ITP Study Group Expert Meeting in Basel, the Management working group recommended that the decision to treat an ITP patient be individualized and based mainly on bleeding symptoms and not on the actual platelet count number and should be supported by bleeding scores using a validated assessment tool. The group stressed the need to develop a uniform validated bleeding score system and to explore new measures to evaluate bleeding risk in thrombocytopenic patients—the role of rituximab as a splenectomy-sparing agent in resistant disease was also discussed. Given the apparently high recurrence rate to rituximab therapy in children and the drug's possible toxicity, the group felt that until more data are available, a conservative approach may be considered, reserving rituximab for patients who failed splenectomy. More studies of the effectiveness and side effects of drugs to treat refractory patients, such as TPO mimetics, cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil, and cytotoxic agents are required, as are long-term data on post-splenectomy complications. In the patient with either acute or chronic ITP, using a more personalized approach to treatment based on bleeding symptoms rather than platelet count should result in less toxicity and empower both physicians and families to focus on quality-of-life.

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