How Effective Is Rituximab for ITP?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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The use of rituximab for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is relatively effective, but is not a first-line treatment. Most patients with ITP respond positively to a splenectomy and require no further treatment following the surgery. Rituximab for ITP is only considered after a splenectomy does not produce a positive effect. Research shows that around 30 to 40 percent of patients treated with the drug require no further treatment. The drug is quite safe, with only around 27.5 percent of patients experiencing adverse reactions to the treatment.

Studies conducted into the effects of rituximab for ITP show that between 30 and 40 percent of patients require no further treatment for the condition. Around 60 percent of patients have an initial positive reaction, but some conditions require further attention. These results mean rituximab for ITP is a possible treatment for ITP, but by no means is it the most ideal treatment. Doctors may choose to use the drug, but only after patients have failed to respond to other methods of treatment.


Research into the effects of rituximab for ITP has revealed that the drug is more effective in younger patients and those who have received fewer previous treatments. This means that the drug may be more effective if used as a first-line treatment. Studies conducted into its effects haven’t shown the same rate of positive responses as a splenectomy, however, so it is unlikely to be used as a first-line treatment. Doctors may more often decide to use the drug in treating younger patients, however.

The safety of using rituximab for ITP has been investigated in clinical trials. Studies have shown that around 21 percent of patients who are given the drug will have minor adverse reactions. The majority of these reactions occur when the drug is first infused. Fewer than 4 percent of patients experience severe reactions when taking rituximab. Death occurs in 2.5 percent of patients taking the drug, according to research.

Splenectomy is a much more effective treatment than rituximab for ITP. The procedure has shown a consistent effectiveness in around two-thirds of patients. Most doctors use splenectomy as a first-line treatment for ITP because most patients require no further treatment after the procedure. It has also been used for much longer than rituximab, so the evidence for its effectiveness is more reliable. A splenectomy is a full or partial removal of the spleen.


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Post 1

Spleen removal decreases the average lifespan of an adult in their 30's with relatively low comorbidities by an average of 20 years. This should definitely be mentioned when considering what makes for a good first line treatment.

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