Acquired idiopathic thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (I-TTP) is a life-threatening microangiopathic disorder usually treated with therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE). The current study assessed the role of rituximab in the treatment of complicated I-TTP. The sequence of TTP events was compared in a group of I-TTP patients treated with TPE and a cohort of refractory or relapsed patients who also received rituximab. This retrospective evaluation included 45 I-TTP patients, treated between January 2000 and October 2013, who underwent at least 3 TPE procedures and were followed up until December 2013 or death. Thirty-one patients with an uncomplicated course received TPE only. Fourteen patients had a complicated course due to either a primary refractory/exacerbated disease (n = 5) or relapse (n = 9) and received rituximab together with TPE. The median number of TPE procedures performed in the first TTP episode in the uncomplicated cohort and groups with primary refractory or relapsed TTP was 11, 27 and 45, respectively. The relapse rates per follow-up year in the uncomplicated I-TTP, primary refractory and relapsed I-TTP groups were 0.18, 0.2 and 0.6 episodes, respectively. After rituximab therapy this rate dropped to 0.2 per year in the relapsed subgroup. In conclusion, about a quarter of patients with I-TTP had a complicated course and experienced a major benefit from rituximab in terms of effectiveness and safety.

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