Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an immune-mediated disorder in which there is less number of platelets in the blood. A decrease in blood platelets can lead to easy bruising, bleeding gums, internal bleeding, and reddish-purple spots on the lower leg.
Rituximab has become a widely used treatment option for chronic ITP. 40 to 60% of chronic ITP patients achieve a partial or complete platelet response following their initial 4 infusions with standard-dose rituximab. Despite this good response rate, only 15–20% of patients sustain responses lasting at least 3 years. Therefore, more than 70 to 80% of the treated patients will not achieve a response or will respond but the disorder will reappear and require further treatment.
It is due to these reasons that have been left unclear as to whether rituximab should be used in the course of ITP. Patients who wish to avoid splenectomy would usually use rituximab early on to obtain a lasting response.