Objective. To determine the efficacy of a short intravenous course of high-dose methylprednisolone compared with the standard treatment with prednisone for adult patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Design. Retrospective. Methods. For all patients diagnosed with ITP between January 1rst 1988 and January 1rst 1998 in the University Hospital Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, data were obtained until June 1rst 1998. These patients had received a brief course of treatment with methylprednisolone i.v. (1 g per day on three successive days in the outpatient department) or the standard treatment (protracted oral treatment with prednisone). A response was defined as a rise in platelet count of > 50 x 109/l. When a remission lasted more than a year a patient was defined as longterm responder. Results. The results concerned 41 patients. The prednisone group comprised 7 males and 20 females, mean age 39 years, the methylprednisolone group comprised 2 males and 12 females, mean age 43 years. Initial treatment with prednisone or methylprednisolone resulted in equal response rates of, respectively, 63% (17/27 patients) and 64% (9/14 patients). The number of longterm responders was 8 of 27 patients in the prednisone group and 2 of 14 patients in the methylprednisolone group. At time of relapse 22 patients were treated with the other treatment modality. The response rate in the group of patients treated with prednisone after first-line treatment with methylprednisolone, was 67% (6/9), for methylprednisolone after first-line treatment with prednisone the response rate was 23% (3/13). Conclusion. A short intravenous course of high-dose methylprednisolone is effective as initial treatment of adults with ITP. Toxicity of longterm treatment with prednisone can be avoided in a number of patients with ITP. In patients refractory to treatment with methylprednisolone, the response rate to second-line treatment with prednisone was not negatively influenced, since two thirds of these relapsing patients subsequently responded to prednisone.
|Title of host publication||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|
|Name||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|