A new drug that can prove to be an effective treatment option for thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a chronic blood disorder, has been found by an international team of researchers.
Thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an autoimmune disease that dramatically reduces the number of platelets in their blood, causing bruises, nosebleeds and, rarely, life-threatening brain hemorrhages.
The study suggests that drug Promacta(r) (eltrombopag) is safe and effective in treating the blood disorder.
"Findings from the new study are very encouraging, and I believe this treatment is an effective option for all patients suffering from chronic ITP," The Lancet quoted Dr. James Bussel, principal investigator of the study from Weill Cornell Medical Center as saying.
The new trials showed that eltrombopag was effective in raising platelet counts and lowering bleeding in adult with chronic ITP.
During the study, the researchers recruited 114 subjects, who were all 18 years and older, with at least six months of history with ITP and with low-platelet counts.
The safe level of platelet count is between 30,000 and 50,000.
The participants were divided into two groups. Two-thirds received the standard of care with the addition of 50mg of eltrombopag, while the other group received placebo pill.
Over a period of 43 days, the researchers found that 59 percent of subjects receiving Promacta(r) achieved platelet counts at or over 50,000 per 5L of blood, compared with 16 percent of subjects in the placebo group.
The group receiving Promacta(r) were nearly 10 times more likely to reach the target platelet counts as the placebo group.
The researchers are conducting further studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of eltrombopag as a long-term treatment for ITP.