Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.


Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

Other Names for this Disease
  • Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura
  • ITP
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura autoimmune
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

Can lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome, and ITP antibodies occur together? How is this treated?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It can affect almost every organ in the body. Symptoms of lupus can be very mild to life threatening. There are three types of lupus; systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus, and drug-induced lupus. Treatment of lupus depends on the severity of the condition and what parts of the body are affected. In general, treatment may include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antimalarial drugs, anti-inflammatory steroids, and/or immunosuppressive drugs.[1]
Last updated: 5/19/2011

What is lupus anticoagulant?

Lupus anticoagulant is also known as antiphospholipid antibody. About 1/3 of people with lupus have lupus anticoagulant which is diagnosed based upon the presence of a false positive syphilis test, a positive anticardiolipin antibody, or prolonged clotting time test. Of the people with lupus anticoagulant 1/3 of them develop blood clots in various parts of the body. These people are said to have antiphospholipid syndrome. This syndrome may be managed with blood thinning medications, such as low dose aspirin, coumadin, or heparin.[2]
Last updated: 1/5/2009

What are ITP antibodies?

ITP antibodies refer to antibodies that destroy platelets resulting in a bleeding condition in which the blood doesn’t clot as it should. ITP antibodies can cause a low platelet count in people with lupus. They are also found in people who have low platelets due to a condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.[2] Low platelet counts can cause purple bruises that appear on the skin or on the mucous membranes (for example, in the mouth). The bruises mean that bleeding has occurred in small blood vessels under the skin.[2] 
Last updated: 1/5/2009

Can lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), and ITP occur together? How is this treated?

Yes. These conditions can occur together. Treatment can be difficult as a balance must be reached in controlling both the low platelet count (from ITP) and blood clotting tendency (from APS). We recommend that patients with this condition work very closely with their health care providers to learn more about their specific treatment options.
Last updated: 6/29/2010