Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

People with mild thrombocytopenia may not need treatment. For example, they may not have symptoms or the condition clears up on its own.

Some people develop severe or long-term (chronic) thrombocytopenia. Depending on what's causing your low platelet count, treatments may include:

  • Treating the underlying cause of thrombocytopenia. If your doctor can identify a condition or a medication that's causing your thrombocytopenia, addressing that cause may clear up your thrombocytopenia

    For example, if you have heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, your doctor will direct you to stop using heparin and prescribe a different blood-thinning drug. Your thrombocytopenia may persist for a week or more despite stopping all heparin therapy.

  • Blood or platelet transfusions. If your platelet level becomes too low, your doctor can replace lost blood with transfusions of packed red blood cells or platelets.
  • Medications. If your condition is related to an immune system problem, your doctor may prescribe drugs to boost your platelet count. The first-choice drug may be a corticosteroid. If that doesn't work, he or she may try stronger medications to suppress your immune system.
  • Surgery. If other treatment options don't help, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your spleen (splenectomy).
  • Plasma exchange. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura can result in a medical emergency requiring plasma exchange.
March 31, 2015