Maintenance treatment of adults with chronic refractory immune thrombocytopenic purpura using repeated intravenous infusions of gammaglobulin
Intravenous infusion of gammaglobulin (IVGG) has been extensively used in the treatment of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) in adults to acutely raise the platelet count but not as a maintenance therapy. This report describes the maintenance treatment of adults with chronic ITP using repeated infusions of 800 to 1,000 mg/kg of IVGG. Sixteen of 40 patients were able to discontinue all therapy after receiving between one and 15 infusions. Five patients achieved remission and 11 other patients became stable without therapy (SWT) maintaining a platelet count greater than 20,000/microL without bleeding. The average quantity of gammaglobulin received for all patients was 606 g per patient. Of the 30 patients who underwent but did not respond to splenectomy, 11 (37%) were able to discontinue all therapy by either achieving remission (5) or becoming SWT (6). None of the five patients who achieved remission did so after only the initial therapy; all first received between one and 12 maintenance infusions. The ten splenectomized patients who were unresponsive to IVGG also failed to subsequently respond to conventional therapy including immunosuppressive agents and androgens. No toxicity of IVGG was seen except for postinfusion headaches. IVGG is an effective although expensive maintenance therapy for adults with ITP and is useful in patients who have not responded to splenectomy.