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Drug-induced thrombocytopenia is often immune-mediated but can also be due to marrow suppression. Table 14–7 lists medications associated with thrombocytopenia. The typical presentation of drug-induced, antibody-mediated thrombocytopenia is severe thrombocytopenia and mucocutaneous bleeding 5–14 days after exposure to a new drug, although a range of presentations is possible. Discontinuation of the offending agent leads to resolution of thrombocytopenia within 3–7 days in most cases, but recovery kinetics depend on rate of drug clearance, which can be affected by liver and kidney function. Patients with severe thrombocytopenia should be given platelet transfusions with or without IVIG. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences center maintains a useful website for drug-induced thrombocytopenia (

Table 14–7.Selected medications causing drug-associated thrombocytopenia.1


Posttransfusion purpura (PTP) is a rare disorder of sudden-onset thrombocytopenia that occurs within 1 week after transfusion of red cells, platelets, or plasma. Antibodies against the human platelet antigen PLA1 are detected in most individuals with PTP. Patients with PTP often are either multiparous women or persons who have received transfusions previously. Severe thrombocytopenia and bleeding are typical. Initial treatment consists of administration of IVIG (1 g/kg/day for 2 days), which should be administered as soon as the diagnosis is suspected. Platelets are not indicated unless severe bleeding is present, but if they are to be administered, HLA-matched PLA1-negative platelets are preferred. A second course or IVIG, plasma exchange, corticosteroids, TPO-mimetics, or splenectomy may be required in case of refractoriness. PLA1-negative or washed blood products are preferred for subsequent transfusions, but data supporting various treatment options are limited.

Vu  K, Leavitt  AD. Posttransfusion purpura with antibodies against human platelet antigen-4a following checkpoint inhibitor therapy: a case report and review of the literature. Transfusion. 2018;58:2265.
[PubMed: 30222869]  


von Willebrand disease (vWD) type 2B leads to chronic, characteristically mild to moderate thrombocytopenia due to an abnormal vWF molecule that binds platelets with increased affinity, resulting in aggregation and clearance (see von Willebrand Disease, below).


One-third of the platelet mass is typically sequestered in the spleen. Splenomegaly, due to a variety of conditions (eTable 14–1), may ...

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