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Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) (cont.)

Can thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) be cared for at home?

In the majority of cases, the function of the platelets is normal despite the lower number, and this is typically sufficient to stop minor bleeding. However, individuals with severe thrombocytopenia (counts of less than 20,000) may have increased risk of bleeding if they are cut or injured.

What is the medical treatment for thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)?

Medical treatment for any underlying cause of thrombocytopenia plays a key role in its treatment if at all possible. For example, treating sepsis (infections), lupus, or leukemia may be an essential part of treatment for low platelet count due to these causes.

Medication-induced thrombocytopenia may be treated by discontinuation of the culprit medication under the direction of the physician. This is especially important in patients with HIT, which normally happens in the hospital setting in patients who are receiving blood thinners for other medical reasons. If this diagnosis is correctly made, then any heparin products [heparin, enoxaparin (Lovenox) must be discontinued immediately, and the patient may not receive any of these products in the future.

In severe ITP, steroids are usually used to weaken the immune system in order to depress the autoimmune attack on platelets. Intravenous antibodies or immunoglobulin (IVIG) can also be used at times for the same reason if the condition is not responsive to steroids. Splenectomy (removal of the spleen) may be recommended in cases unresponsive to other treatments.

Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) is the treatment for TTP and HUS. In these conditions, platelet transfusion is not routinely recommended because this could prolong the course of the disease.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/13/2016

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