Merck Manual

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Causes of Thrombocytopenia

Causes of Thrombocytopenia

Mechanism

Examples

Bone marrow does not produce enough platelets

Heavy alcohol consumption

Vitamin deficiency anemias, including vitamin B12 and folate deficiency anemias

Some bone marrow disorders

Some chemotherapy drugs

Platelets become entrapped in an enlarged spleen

Cirrhosis of the liver that causes spleen enlargement due to abnormally high blood pressure in the large vein that brings blood from the intestine to the liver

Platelets become diluted

Massive red blood cell replacement or exchange transfusion; stored red blood cells do not contain very many platelets

Use or destruction of platelets increases

Drugs such as heparin, quinine, many antibiotics (such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, rifampin, and vancomycin), and some oral drugs for diabetes

Conditions involving disseminated intravascular coagulation within blood vessels, as can occur with complications of childbirth, cancer, blood poisoning (septicemia) due to gram-negative bacteria, and traumatic brain damage