Interferon-β therapy and risk of thrombocytopenia in multiple sclerosis patients

Tatiana Koudriavtseva, Domenico Plantone, Rosaria Renna, Chiara Mandoj, Diana Giannarelli, Caterina Mainero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thrombocytopenia is a well-described adverse event of several disease-modifying therapies (DMT) in multiple sclerosis (MS). On the other hand, an increased prevalence of MS has been reported in patients with immune thrombocytopenia. In this retrospective, cross-sectional, case–control study we evaluated in a heterogeneous MS cohort: (1) the prevalence of thrombocytopenia in comparison with sex- and age-matched controls; (2) the relationship between thrombocytopenia and patients’ demographic, clinical characteristics; (3) the risk for thrombocytopenia in relation to DMT. 187 consecutive MS patients [51 males, mean age (±SD) 44.5 ± 10.7 years] and 200 controls (56 males, mean age 45.5 ± 12 years) were included. Thrombocytopenia was defined as platelet count lower than normal laboratory values (130–400 × 109/L). The prevalence of thrombocytopenia was significantly higher in MS patients than in controls (7 vs. 2.5 %, p = 0.04). Thrombocytopenia was present only in relapsing–remitting MS cases, and significantly associated with lower EDSS (p = 0.002) and with a trend for shorter disease duration (p = 0.06). It was more frequent in patients on high-dose interferon-β therapy compared with those on low-dose interferon-β therapy, other therapies or untreated patients (p = 0.02). High-dose interferon-β therapy was associated with more than eightfold increase in the risk for thrombocytopenia (odds ratio 8.60, 95 % confidence interval: 1.01–74.48 adjusted for EDSS, disease duration and type of disease). The prevalence of thrombocytopenia was increased in MS patients treated with DMT. High-dose interferon-β therapy is the variable most strongly associated with thrombocytopenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2263-2268
Number of pages6
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Beta-interferon
  • Disease-modifying therapies
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Interferon-β therapy and risk of thrombocytopenia in multiple sclerosis patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this