Purinethol

DRUG DESCRIPTION

PURINETHOL (mercaptopurine) was synthesized and developed by Hitchings, Elion, and associates at the Wellcome Research Laboratories.

Mercaptopurine, known chemically as l,7-dihydro-6H-purine-6-thione monohydrate, is an analogue of the purine bases adenine and hypoxanthine. Its structural formula is:

PURINETHOL® 
  (mercaptopurine) Structural Formula Illustration

PURINETHOL is available in tablet form for oral administration. Each scored tablet contains 50 mg mercaptopurine and the inactive ingredients corn and potato starch, lactose, magnesium stearate, and stearic acid.

What are the possible side effects of mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using mercaptopurine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, weakness, muscle pain, flu symptoms;
  • severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
  • severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back,...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Purinethol »

What are the precautions when taking mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?

Before taking mercaptopurine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have a certain medical condition. Before taking this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if a certain drug (thioguanine) did not work for you in the past. This may affect how well mercaptopurine works for you.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: other blood disorders (e.g., anemia, low blood cell counts), gout, kidney disease (including kidney stones), liver disease, pancreatitis, radiation treatment,...

Read All Potential Precautions of Purinethol »


Purinethol Consumer (continued)

SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite may occur. Temporary hair loss may also occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, dizziness/fainting, joint pain/swelling, tongue/mouth sores or pain, unusual tiredness, symptoms of liver disease (such as persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin).

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: symptoms of possible lymphoma (such as swollen or painful abdomen, persistent fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss), change in amount of urine, pain in the lower back/side.

This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, or persistent sore throat.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

PRECAUTIONS: Before taking mercaptopurine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have a certain medical condition. Before taking this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if a certain drug (thioguanine) did not work for you in the past. This may affect how well mercaptopurine works for you.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: other blood disorders (e.g., anemia, low blood cell counts), gout, kidney disease (including kidney stones), liver disease, pancreatitis, radiation treatment, history of cancer (such as lymphoma).

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.

Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.

To lower your risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

If you need to have surgery or a dental procedure, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using mercaptopurine.

Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of stomach/esophageal irritation or liver damage. Limit alcoholic beverages.

People with a certain inherited problem (lack of thiopurine methyltransferase-TPMT enzyme) may be at increased risk for serious side effects from this medication and may require dosage adjustment. Consult your doctor for details and to discuss whether you should be tested for this inherited problem.

Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the liver and bone marrow effects.

This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm the unborn baby. It may be particularly harmful during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.


Purinethol Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Purinethol

Generic Name: mercaptopurine (Pronunciation: mer kap toe PYOOR een)

  • What is mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?
  • What are the possible side effects of mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?
  • What is the most important information I should know about mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?
  • What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?
  • How should I take mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?
  • What happens if I miss a dose (Purinethol)?
  • What happens if I overdose (Purinethol)?
  • What should I avoid while taking mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?
  • What other drugs will affect mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?
  • Where can I get more information?

What is mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?

Mercaptopurine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Mercaptopurine is used to treat acute lymphatic leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia. Mercaptopurine is usually given together with other cancer medications.

Mercaptopurine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using mercaptopurine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, weakness, muscle pain, flu symptoms;
  • severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
  • severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, fast heart rate;
  • stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.

Continue taking mercaptopurine and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • mild upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite;
  • hair loss;
  • skin rash; or
  • changes in skin color.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about mercaptopurine (Purinethol)?

Before taking mercaptopurine, tell your doctor if you are allgergic to any drugs, or if you have kidney or liver disease, or any type of infection.

Stop taking this medication and call your doctor at once if you have easy bruising or bleeding, fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, mouth sores, dark urine, severe stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), or severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Mercaptopurine can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Related Drug Centers
  • Purinethol


Related Drugs Index: