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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-12

The role of hydroxychloroquine as a steroid-sparing agent in the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia: A review of the literature


Research Center for Rational Use of Drugs, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mona Kargar
Research Center for Rational Use of Drugs, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jrpp.JRPP_17_60

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Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disease in which platelet destruction causes thrombocytopenia. Due to the known steroid toxicities, alternative agents have been evaluated for the treatment of these patients. We aimed to review the literature and find evidences regarding the potential benefits of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a steroid-sparing agent in the treatment of ITP. We searched English language articles within Web of Science, PubMed, and Scopus. Cohorts, clinical trials, case reports, conference papers, and letters were included. We excluded papers which either focused on administration of HCQ for non-ITP conditions or studies on other treatment modalities for ITP. In total, 54 ITP cases with either primary or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)-associated ITP were included in four studies (SLE-associated ITP; n = 23). All patients have received corticosteroids previously and >90% received other agents with HCQ concomitantly. Overall response was achieved in more than 60% of patients. Sustained response in 18 (33.3%) patients was associated with no treatment or HCQ alone. One of the studies reported a significantly better response in patients with definite SLE compared to those with positive antinuclear antibody and no definite SLE. Similarly, another study found a nonsignificant trend toward better long-term response in patients with definite SLE compared to incomplete SLE. The included articles reported the efficacy of the HCQ with acceptable safety. Available data regarding the use of HCQ for this indication are spare and more studies are needed in ITP with different severity. It seems that HCQ can be considered as an option in the treatment of SLE-associated ITP, and although promising, currently, the place of HCQ in the treatment of ITP continues to evolve.


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