What is the role of IVIG and anti-D immunoglobulin in the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in adults?

Updated: Nov 30, 2019
  • Author: Perumal Thiagarajan, MD; Chief Editor: Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP  more...
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IVIG at a dose of 1 gm/kg can be used as initial therapy in addition to steroids when a rapid increase in platelet count is desired. IVIG can also be used as the initial treatment of choice in patients with HCV or HIV.

IVIG (1 g/kg/d for 1-2 d) induces a short-term increase in the platelet count, starting within several days and lasting approximately 2-3 weeks, both in patients who have undergone splenectomy and in those who have not. No clear evidence indicates that repeated infusions induce a lasting remission. 

Anti-D immunoglobulin (WinRho, 50-75 μg/kg IV) is also as effective as IV immunoglobulin in Rh-positive adults with an intact spleen. Rarely, massive intravascular hemolysis with DIC and occasional death has occurred with the use of anti-D immunoglobulin.

Both IVIG and anti-D immunoglobulin are relatively expensive therapy for adults compared with steroids, and these agents are primarily used on an interim basis during a crisis (eg, before splenectomy or major surgery).

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