Treatments for Platelet Function Disorders in Children

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Contact the Platelet Function Disorders Program

Treatment for platelet function disorders

There are a number of treatments that can help increase platelets levels in children with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), but there is no cure. The majority of children with ITP get better spontaneously in a few days or weeks, with or without treatment. When treatment is necessary, the most common forms are:


  • Temporarily reduce production of abnormal antibodies and increase platelet count by slowing the rate at which they are destroyed by the spleen
  • May be taken orally
  • Side effects may include: irritability, stomach irritation, weight gain, hypertension, sugar in the urine or acne

Intravenous gamma globulin:

  • Human blood product containing many antibodies that help slow the rate at which abnormal platelets are destroyed by the spleen
  • Given through a needle inserted into a vein over 3 to 6 hours
  • Temporary side effects include: fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, hives, rash or allergic reactions

Intravenous Rh immune globulin:

  • Human plasma product, manufactured with special processes to make it safe
  • Temporarily stops the spleen from destroying platelets
  • Child must be blood type Rh positive and have a spleen for this medication to be effective
  • Given intravenously
  • Temporary side effects include: mild anemia, fever, chills, headache, blood pressure changes or allergic reactions. Rarely, severe anemia from breakdown of blood cells can occur.

Other treatments for ITP may include:

  • medication changes
  • infection treatment
  • surgery to remove spleen (considered more often in older children with chronic ITP)
  • hormone therapy (for teenage girls to stop their menstrual cycle if excessive bleeding occurs)

Caring for a child with a platelet function disorder

Preventing serious bleeding until a child's body resolves the idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is the most important aspect of care. Parents should consider:

  • padding child's crib
  • having child wear helmets
  • providing protective clothing for child
  • restricting certain contact sports and rough play
  • avoiding medications that may interfere with platelet function and may cause bleeding, including aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, naproxen, naprosyn, Aleve, and more
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