ITP can be triggered by a bacterial infection. Therefore antibiotics can raise the platelet counts of some people diagnosed with ITP.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
There have been a number of studies linking ITP and H. pylori,1 a bacteria that infects more than 50% of the world's population2 and has been associated with ulcers. Many ITP specialists recommend testing patients with ITP for H. pylori since correcting the problem and possibly raising the platelet count is less costly and has fewer side effects than many of the other ITP treatments. The success rate for raising platelets by treating H. pylori varies by region and ethnicity. The clinical trials from Italy and Japan show more positive results than those from the US.5 However, some people in the US have recovered by treating the infection.
Other Bacterial Diseases
Other bacterial diseases such as those caused by ticks 3 ( ex. Lyme diseease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, ehrlichiosis), leptospirosis 4 (transmitted by the urine of infected animals) and more can also result in low platelets. Therefore it is important that the patient report all physical complaints to the hematologist as well as a history of animal bites or unusual animal contact.
Certain antiobiotics can lower platelet counts in some people. See the warnings page for more information:
1.Stasi R et al. “Effects of eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection in patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura: a systematic review.” Blood. 2009 Feb 5;113(6):1231-40 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18945961
2. Helicobacter Pylori Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicobacter_pylori
3. Gayle A et al."Tick-borne Diseases." Am Fam Physician. 2001 Aug 1;64(3):461-467 http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010801/461.html
4. Nicodemo AC et al. “Thrombocytopenia and leptospirosis.” Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 1990 Jul-Aug;32(4):252-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2101519
5. Kuwana M, Ikeda Y. “Helicobacter pylori and immune thrombocytopenic purpura: unsolved questions and controversies.” Int J Hematol. 2006 Nov;84(4):309-15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17118756