Eltrombopag: an update on the novel, non-peptide thrombopoietin receptor agonist for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia

Kühne, Thomas; Imbach, Paul; Kühne, Thomas
July 2010
Annals of Hematology;Jul2010, Vol. 89, p67
Academic Journal
journal article
Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is characterised by a transient or persistent decrease in platelets accompanied by an increased risk of bleeding, which can have a significant negative impact on patients' health-related quality of life. The condition has long been associated with an increased rate of immune-mediated platelet destruction, and traditional treatments have targeted the reduction in platelet destruction; however, some interventional drugs are limited by transient efficacy and side effects. Recent advances in our understanding of ITP pathogenesis have highlighted the role of impaired platelet production, which has led to the advent of a new generation of thrombopoietin (TPO)-receptor agonist therapies, including eltrombopag and romiplostim. The oral, non-peptide TPO-receptor agonist eltrombopag has shown considerable promise in both preclinical and clinical trials. Eltrombopag has a unique mechanism of action and binds to a transmembrane region of the TPO receptor that is distant from the TPO binding site. As such, eltrombopag may confer synergistic effects with endogenous TPO rather than competing for binding. Eltrombopag also induces activation of the TPO receptor and downstream signalling in a distinct manner to TPO and does not have a significant impact on platelet function. Clinical evidence demonstrates that eltrombopag produces a rapid and sustainable increase in platelet counts that significantly reduces bleeding and is well tolerated in patients with ITP. Eltrombopag therefore represents an important addition to the therapeutic armamentarium for ITP.


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