Danazol, an attenuated androgen, has been used successfully at its conventional dose (400-800 mg/day) in the treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP). To minimize side effects, the authors tried a very low dose (50 mg/day) regimen which has not been used in any other disease and observed its efficacy in ITP. Fifteen patients were given this dosage of danazol. Its effects on T-cell subsets, B cells, and blastogenic response to pokeweed mitogen (PWM) and staphylococcus aureus (Staph A) were studied before and during therapy. The percentage of CD3 and the percentage and numbers of CD4 were significantly increased during therapy. Responses to PWM, a T-cell dependent B cell mitogen, were also significantly elevated during therapy. However, no change in the percentage of B (CD19) lymphocytes and responses to Staph A, a polyclonal B cell mitogen, were noted. There were seven excellent-good and eight fair-poor responses in platelet counts. The excellent-good responders were found to have a more stable CD4 subset between before and during therapy compared to the fair-poor responders (p < 0.05, Fisher's exact test). Very low dose danazol regimen, therefore, produced a significant increase in the CD4 without affecting the B cells. However, the excellent-good responder patients showed no significant increase in the CD4 lymphocytes.
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