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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura


Other Names for this Disease
  • ITP
  • Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura
  • 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. An autoimmune disease is when your immune system, which is supposed to protect your body against disease, attacks the healthy cells in your body instead. 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 which 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: 1/18/2016

What is lupus anticoagulant?

Lupus anticoagulant is also known as antiphospholipid antibody. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system for protection and phospholipids are substances in the body that help prevent blood clotting. Having antibodies to phospholipids results in an increase chance for blood clots.[2][3]

About 1 in 2 people (50%) with lupus have lupus anticoagulant, and about one half of these people will develop a blood clot. The blood clot can occur in any part of the body. People who develop complications from lupus anticoagulants (antipospholipid antibodies) are said to have antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. This syndrome may be treated with blood thinning medications, such as low dose aspirin, coumadin/warfarin, or heparin.[2][3]
Last updated: 1/18/2016

What are ITP antibodies?

ITP antibodies refer to proteins produced by the immune system (antibodies) that destroy cells needed for the blood to clot (platelets). This results in a bleeding condition in which the blood is unable to clot properly. Since these ITP antibodies destroy platelets, this results in a low platelet count in people with lupus. These antibodies are also seen in people who have low platelets due to a condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.[4] 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.[4] 
Last updated: 1/18/2016

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: 1/18/2016

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • ITP
  • Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura
  • 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.