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Alert Number 264

ITP: Immune Thrombocytopenia

Date: December 6, 2007

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a serious complication of CLL that affects a small percentage of patients. In the unlucky ones who get ITP on top of their CLL, it can pose serious risks as well as reduce survival statistics. It has been my experience that local oncologists are not always familiar with the nitty-gritty details of ITP, how to diagnose it, how to treat it, how to control it. If your platelet counts have been tanking recently for no apparent reason and you are worried, this is a must read article. The more you know about ITP, the more you can protect yourself, ask sensible questions when you meet with your physicians. Latest information suggests ITP may be initiated by a bacteria in your stomach!

ITP is yet another autoimmune disease, where your own wonky immune system destroys perfectly healthy cells – platelets in this case. Research suggests that a common bug that hides out in your stomach (Helicobacter pylori) and can cause gastritis and ulcers, may also act as a trigger for ITP. The exciting news is that controlling and eradicating this H. Pylori infection can sometimes resolve ITP in its early stages. How sweet is that! H. Pylori infections can be effectively eradicated in most people with little more than use of proton pump inhibitors (drugs such as Zantac that many of us use to control acidity and heartburn) in combination with a course of antibiotics.

We discuss this and other details of this nasty autoimmune disease in ITP: Immune Thrombocytopenia.

Be well,


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