Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page
 

Thrombocytopenia - drug induced


Definition:

Thrombocytopenia is any disorder in which there are not enough platelets. Platelets are cells in the blood that help the blood clot. A low platelet count makes bleeding more likely.

When drugs or medications are the causes of a low platelet count, it is called drug-induced thrombocytopenia.

See also: Thrombocytopenia

Alternative Names:

Drug-induced thrombocytopenia

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Drug-induced thrombocytopenia occurs when certain drugs or medications destroy platelets or interfere with the body's ability to make enough of them.

There are two types of drug-induced thrombocytopenia:

  • Immune
  • Nonimmune

If a drug causes your body to produce antibodies, which seek and destroy your platelets, the condition is called drug-induced immune thrombocytopenia. Heparin, a blood thinner, is probably the most common cause of drug-induced immune thrombocytopenia.

If a medicine prevents your bone marrow from making enough platelets, the condition is called drug-induced nonimmune thrombocytopenia. Chemotherapy drugs and a seizure medication called valproic acid may lead to this problem.

Other drugs that cause drug-induced thrombocytopenia include:

  • Furosemid
  • Gold, used to treat arthritis
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Penicillin
  • Quinidine
  • Quinine
  • Ranitidine
  • Sulfonamides
Symptoms:

Decreased platelets may cause:

  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Bleeding when you brush your teeth
  • Easy bruising
  • Pinpoint red spots on the skin (petechiae)
Signs and tests:

See: Thrombocytopenia

Treatment:

The first step in treating this type of low platelet count is to stop using the drug that may be causing the problem.

For people who have life-threatening bleeding, treatments may include:

  • Immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG) given through a vein
  • Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis)
  • Platelet transfusions
Complications:

Bleeding can be life threatening if it occurs in the brain or other organs.

A pregnant woman who has antibodies to platelets may pass the antibodies to the baby in the womb.

Calling your health care provider:

Call your healthcare provider if you have unexplained bleeding or bruising.

References:

Warkentin TE. Thrombocytopenia due to platelet destruction and hypersplenism. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Shattil SJ, et al, eds. Hoffman Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:chap 140.

McMillan R. Hemorrhagic disorders: abnormalities of platelet and vascular function. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 179.


Review Date: 6/13/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History
  Thrombocytopenia - drug induced

   
   

 

About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania