Platelet E-News: March 27, 2012

This e-newsletter is a monthly publication of the Platelet Disorder Support Association. The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. For advice on your unique medical condition, please consult a health care professional.


ITP and Platelet Disorders Research and Treatments

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

General Health and Medicine


ITP and Platelet Disorders Research and Treatments


SuppreMol GmbH, a German company specializing in treatments for autoimmune diseases, announced the results of their phase Ib/IIa double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of SM101, a new and different treatment for ITP. The 36 patients tested showed a dose-dependent response to the treatment with those in the highest dosage group continuing to respond for at least three months after the medication was discontinued. Because of these positive results SuppreMol will continue to develop and test this treatment in ITP and other B-cell driven diseases. SM101 works differently from other ITP treatments on the market. It blocks the action of immune complexes, thereby reducing the autoimmune response and associated inflammation.

See for more information.

"SuppreMol releases positive interim Phase Ib/IIa results on SM101 in Primary Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) trials." PharmaLive February 14, 2012.


In a French study of 372,696 people taking glucocorticoids (including prednisone), the rate of attempted and committed suicides was almost seven times that of others with the same disease who were not taking the medication. Delirium and confusion were five times more prevalent, mania was quadrupled, and depression was twice as frequent in those on steroids. "Older men were at higher risk of delirium/confusion/disorientation and mania, while younger patients were at higher risk of suicide or suicide attempt. Patients with a previous history of neuropsychiatric disorders and those treated with higher dosages of glucocorticoids were at greater risk of neuropsychiatric outcomes."

Fardet L et al. "Suicidal Behavior and Severe Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Glucocorticoid Therapy in Primary Care." Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Feb 17. [Epub ahead of print]


Nearly 4% of the 19,473 returning travelers who visited the outpatient travel clinic at the University of Munich between 1999 and 2009 were diagnosed with thrombocytopenia. The low platelets were most frequently associated with malaria, acute human immunodeficiency virus, dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever (DF/DHF) and Epstein-Barr associated infectious mononucleosis. Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa (malaria) and South/Southeast Asia (DF/DHF) had the highest risk.

Herbinger KH, et al. "Comparative study on infection-induced thrombocytopenia among returned travelers." Infection. 2012 Feb 17. [Epub ahead of print]


Calcium reduces the effectiveness of eltrombopag (Promacta), a pill that stimulates the bone marrow to produce platelets. That’s why adults are instructed to take eltrombopag on an empty stomach and wait four hours before consuming anything containing calcium. Now eltrombopag is being formulated as an oral suspension (liquid) for testing in children, so researchers wanted to determine if there was any difference between the calcium reaction to this new formulation and the pill version of the drug. In a study of healthy adults, the oral suspension entered the system more quickly than the pill. The effect of the new medication was delayed if taken with a high-calcium meal or two hours after the meal. The absorption delay was reduced if the liquid was taken two hours before the meal.

Wire MB et al. “A Randomized, Open-Label, 5-Period, Balanced Crossover Study to Evaluate the Relative Bioavailability of Eltrombopag Powder for Oral Suspension (PfOS) and Tablet Formulations and the Effect of a High-Calcium Meal on Eltrombopag Pharmacokinetics When Administered With or 2 Before or After PfOS.” In Clin Ther. 2012 Feb 13.
[Epub ahead of print]


Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care


Small decreases in tobacco use, preventable hospitalizations, and coronary heart disease were offset by increases in diabetes, obesity, and poverty, leaving the overall health of Americans basically unchanged according to "American's Health Ranking" annual report. Since 1996 the diabetes rate has doubledand for the first time ever there was no state with an obesity rate less than 20%. Vermont was ranked the healthiest state and Mississippi, for the tenth year in a row, was ranked last. For the full report see:

Johnson TD. "Nation's overall health not improving, assessment finds: Obesity, diabetes stalling U.S. progress." The Nation's Health February 2012 vol. 42 no. 1 1-18.


Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of their premiums on medical care and quality improvement. This year insurance companies are required to notify customers of their percentages spent and send rebates if they did not meet the 80% target. Because of this legislative change, The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that customers will receive up to $323 million dollars in rebates.

"HHS ensures consumers get better value for their health insurance dollar: Administration actions saved consumers up to $323 million." HHS Press Release. February 16, 2012.


General Health and Medicine


People who used sleeping pills (hypnotics) were more than three times likely to die early and had a 35% overall increased risk of cancer according to a recent study. This was true of both the shorter and longer acting varieties of these drugs. People consuming as few as 18 pills per year had increased risk, with problems escalating with greater usage. This large study of more than 10,000 adults and more than 20,000 matching controls is the 19th study to show a relationship between sleeping pills and early death. In the study data from a large medical center from 2002 to 2007, zolpidem (ex. Ambien) was the most prescribed drug.

Kripke DF et al. "Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study." BMJ Open. 2012 Feb 27;2(1):e000850.


Grapefruit juice may increase the active levels of some drugs and decrease the effectiveness of others, according to a newly updated page on the FDA web site. Sandimmune (cyclosporine, sometimes used to treat ITP) as well as some statins, anti-anxiety, anti-arrhythmia, and antihistamine drugs may be affected. This juice blocks CYP3A4, an enzyme in your digestive tract that regulates how much of a drug gets into your blood stream, causing more to circulate. Grapefruit juice can also block proteins in the body that transport drugs to cells, reducing the action of the drugs. Since people differ in the amount of enzymes and proteins in circulation, they may react differently to the juice.



This e-newsletter is published by the Platelet Disorder Support Association, 133 Rollins Avenue, Suite 5, Rockville, MD 20852, phone 1-87-Platelet, fax: 301-770-6638, web:, e-mail:

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