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Mercaptopurine Oral tablet

What is this medicine?

MERCAPTOPURINE, 6-MP (mer kap toe PYOOR een) is a chemotherapy drug. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells and can reduce immune system activity. It is used to treat certain types of acute leukemia.

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • breathing problems

  • low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding

  • signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine

  • signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, feeling faint or lightheaded, falls

  • signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine

  • signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; nausea; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin

  • sore throat

  • swelling of the stomach

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (Report these to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome.):

  • diarrhea

  • hair loss

  • mouth sores

  • vomiting

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:

  • febuxostat

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • allopurinol

  • certain medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin

  • certain medicines that treat ulcerative colitis like balsalazide, olsalazine, mesalamine, or sulfasalazine

  • live virus vaccines

  • trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose and skip your missed dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Protect from moisture. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • low blood counts like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts

  • recently received or scheduled to receive a vaccine

  • thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) deficiency

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to mercaptopurine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Talk to your doctor about your risk of cancer. You may be more at risk for certain types of cancers if you take this medicine.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

This medicine has caused reduced sperm counts in some men. This may interfere with the ability to father a child. You should talk to your doctor or health care professional if you are concerned about your fertility.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 4/14/2015
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