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Anti-RhD immunoglobulin in the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia

Authors Eric Cheung, Howard A Liebman

Published 8 January 2009 Volume 2009:3 Pages 57—62


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Peer reviewer comments 3

Eric Cheung, Howard A Liebman

Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases, University of Southern California-Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Abstract: Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an acquired bleeding autoimmune disorder characterized by a markedly decreased blood platelet count. The disorder is variable, frequently having an acute onset of limited duration in children and a more chronic course in adults. A number of therapeutic agents have demonstrated efficacy in increasing the platelet counts in both children and adults. Anti-RhD immunoglobulin (anti-D) is one such agent, and has been successfully used in the setting of both acute and chronic immune thrombocytopenia. In this report we review the use of anti-D in the management of ITP. While the FDA-approved dose of 50 mg/kg has documented efficacy in increasing platelet counts in approximately 80% of children and 70% of adults, a higher dose of 75 μg/kg has been shown to result in a more rapid increase in platelet count without a greater reduction in hemoglobin. Anti-D is generally ineffective in patients who have failed splenectomy. Anti-RhD therapy has been shown capable of delaying splenectomy in adult patients, but does not significantly increase the total number of patients in whom the procedure can be avoided. Anti-D therapy appears to inhibit macrophage phagocytosis by a combination of both FcR blockade and inflammatory cytokine inhibition of platelet phagocytosis within the spleen. Anti-RhD treatment is associated with mild to moderate infusion toxicities. Rare life-threatening toxicities such as hemoglobinuria, acute renal failure and disseminated intravascular coagulation have been reported. Recommendations have been proposed to reduce the risk of these complications. Anti-D immunoglobulin can be an effective option for rapidly increasing platelet counts in patients with symptomatic ITP.

Keywords: immune thrombocytopenia, RhD immunoglobulin

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