Generic Name: Mercaptopurine Tablets (mer kap toe PURE een)
Brand Name: Purinethol
Uses of Mercaptopurine Tablets:
- It is used to treat a type of leukemia.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Mercaptopurine Tablets?
- If you have an allergy to mercaptopurine or any other part of this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have taken this medicine or a drug called thioguanine before and your cancer did not respond.
- If you are taking allopurinol.
- If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this medicine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Mercaptopurine Tablets?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- If you have a thiopurine methyltransferase deficiency, talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may add to the chance of getting some types of cancer. Talk with the doctor.
- A rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma (HSTCL) has happened with this medicine. These cases have been deadly. Most of the time, these cases happened in teenagers or young adults. Most of these patients were using this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets) to treat certain types of bowel problems like Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. This medicine is not approved for use to treat bowel problems like these. Tell the doctor if you have ever had any type of cancer. Talk with the doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- If you are taking warfarin, talk with your doctor. You may need to have your blood work checked more closely while you are taking it with this medicine.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets) may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- You may get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
- A very bad and sometimes life-threatening problem called Macrophage Activation Syndrome (MAS) may rarely happen in people with autoimmune diseases. Talk with the doctor.
- Low blood sugar has happened in people taking this medicine, especially children. Signs may be dizziness, headache, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, hunger, or sweating. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby or loss of the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets).
- If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this medicine, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Mercaptopurine Tablets) best taken?
Use this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take this medicine at the same time of day.
- Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to take this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets) with regard to food.
- Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.
- Your doctor will tell you how to take this medicine. Be sure you know how much to take, how often to take this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets), and how to store this drug. If your doctor does not tell you how to use this medicine or if you are not sure how to use it, talk with your doctor.
- You will need to take special care when handling this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets). Check with the doctor or pharmacist to see how to handle this medicine.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Very loose stools (diarrhea).
- Very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Change in color of skin.
- Redness or white patches in mouth or throat.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Shortness of breath.
- Very bad belly pain or soreness.
- A skin lump or growth.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets). Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
What are some other side effects of Mercaptopurine Tablets?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Not hungry.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Mercaptopurine Tablets?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Protect from heat.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets) or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine (mercaptopurine tablets). This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
Review Date: September 6, 2017
More about mercaptopurine
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- Drug class: antimetabolites