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Mercaptopurine (Mercaptopurine) - Summary



Mercaptopurine, known chemically as 1,7-dihydro-6 H -purine-6-thione monohydrate, is an analogue of the purine bases adenine and hypoxanthine.

Mercaptopurine tablets are indicated for maintenance therapy of acute lymphatic (lymphocytic, lymphoblastic) leukemia as part of a combination regimen. The response to this agent depends upon the particular subclassification of acute lymphatic leukemia and the age of the patient (pediatric or adult).

Mercaptopurine tablets are not effective for prophylaxis or treatment of central nervous system leukemia.

Mercaptopurine tablets are not effective in acute myelogenous leukemia, chronic lymphatic leukemia, the lymphomas (including Hodgkins Disease), or solid tumors.

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Published Studies Related to Mercaptopurine

Randomized trial to compare LSA2L2-type maintenance therapy to daily 6-mercaptopurine and weekly methotrexate with vincristine and dexamethasone pulse for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. [2010.08]
CONCLUSIONS: There were no differences in the EFS between the different maintenance therapies in each risk group; however, grade IV liver toxicity occurred more often in the patients receiving 6-MP/MTX with VCR and DEX therapy than in patients receiving LSA2L2. (c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine for induction of remission in Crohn's disease. [2010.06.16]
CONCLUSIONS: Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are effective therapy for inducing remission in active Crohn's disease. Adverse events were more common among patients on active therapy.

Benefits of the intermittent use of 6-mercaptopurine and methotrexate in maintenance treatment for low-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children: randomized trial from the Brazilian Childhood Cooperative Group--protocol ALL-99. [2010.04.10]
PURPOSE To describe event-free survival (EFS) and toxicities in children with low-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) assigned to receive either continuous 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) and weekly methotrexate (MTX) or intermittent 6-MP with intermediate-dose MTX, as maintenance treatment... Boys treated with the intermittent schedule had significantly better EFS.

Oral 6-mercaptopurine versus oral 6-thioguanine and veno-occlusive disease in children with standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia: report of the Children's Oncology Group CCG-1952 clinical trial. [2010.04.08]
The Children's Cancer Group 1952 (CCG-1952) clinical trial studied the substitution of oral 6-thioguanine (TG) for 6-mercaptopurine (MP) and triple intrathecal therapy (ITT) for intrathecal methotrexate (IT-MTX) in the treatment of standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia...

Azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine for induction of remission in Crohn's disease. [2009.10.07]
CONCLUSIONS: Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are effective therapy for inducing remission in active Crohn's disease. The OR of response increases after > 17 weeks of therapy, suggesting that there is a minimum length of time for a trial of azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine therapy. Adverse events were more common among patients on active therapy.

more studies >>

Clinical Trials Related to Mercaptopurine

Multicenter Clinical Efficacy and Safety Study of Delayed Release 6MP in Crohn's Disease [Recruiting]
The study is designed to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of daily treatment for 12 weeks of oral administration of a delayed release, locally delivered 6MP (mercaptopurine) drug (80 mg), as compared to standard Purinethol (at a dose of 1-1. 5 mg/kg/body weight), in alleviating the clinical, immunological and mucosal signs and symptoms of moderately active Crohn's Disease

Bioequivalence of An Oral Mercaptopurine Suspension 100 Mg / 5 Ml Versus Tablet in Healthy Male Subjects Under Fasting Conditions [Recruiting]
The primary objective of this study is to determine whether the test product, mercaptopurine oral 100 mg/5 mL suspension, and the reference product, Purinethol® 50 mg tablets are bioequivalent. For this purpose the PK profile of 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) will be compared after administration of a single dose of each of the two formulations, under fasting conditions. The secondary objective is to assess the safety and tolerability of the test product, mercaptopurine oral 100 mg/5 mL suspension.

Open Label Extension Study to Protocol C2/13/DR-6MP-02 [Not yet recruiting]
The open label extension study (Protocol C2/13/DR-6MP-02 EXT) is designed to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of 80 mg DR-6MP test formulation for an additional 12 weeks in subjects who already completed 12 weeks of Protocol C2/13/DR-6MP-02. Crohn's disease (CD) therapy is aimed at reducing inflammation via induction of remission after a flare-up and maintenance of the remission for as long as possible. The questions being asked in this extension study are:

1. For subjects who received 80 mg DR-6MP for 12 weeks: Can the clinical efficacy and safety status achieved following 12 weeks of treatment be maintained or improved following an additional 12 weeks of DR-6MP treatment?

2. For subjects who received oral Purinethol (1-1. 5 mg/kg daily) for 12 weeks: Can the clinical efficacy and safety at 12 weeks be maintained or improved following the introduction of 12 weeks of 80 mg DR-6MP treatment?

A Clinical Trial in Patients With BRCA Defective Tumours [Recruiting]
This study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of 6MP in combination with methotrexate in patients with breast or ovarian cancer who are known to have a BRCA mutation. 6MP is used instead of 6TG as it is converted to the same cytotoxic moiety as 6TG, ie. thioguanine nucleotides, but with reduced toxic effects. Low dose methotrexate is used in combination with 6MP as it promotes the formation of thioguanine nucleotides.

Fasting Study of Mercaptopurine 50 mg and Purinethol® Tablets 50 mg [Completed]
The objective of this study was to investigate the bioequivalence of Mylan's mercaptopurine 50 mg tablets to Gate's Purinethol® 50 mg tablets following a single, oral 50 mg (1 x 50 mg) dose administered under fasting conditions.

more trials >>

Reports of Suspected Mercaptopurine Side Effects

Osteonecrosis (35)Pyrexia (32)Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (26)OFF Label USE (24)Infection (21)Diarrhoea (17)Rash (16)Headache (15)Maternal Exposure During Pregnancy (15)Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma (15)more >>


Based on a total of 1 ratings/reviews, Mercaptopurine has an overall score of 8. The effectiveness score is 8 and the side effect score is 8. The scores are on ten point scale: 10 - best, 1 - worst.

Mercaptopurine review by 37 year old female patient

Overall rating:  
Effectiveness:   Considerably Effective
Side effects:   Mild Side Effects
Treatment Info
Condition / reason:   Crohn's disease
Dosage & duration:   100 mg taken 1 time every evening for the period of three years +
Other conditions:   High cholesterol, depression
Other drugs taken:   Niaspan, Wellbutrin
Reported Results
Benefits:   I was prescribed the drug Mercaptopurine after two previous treatment drugs had begun to prove less effective than before. The doctor started on a higher course of the medicine, but the dose is currently 100mg (2 pills) every evening. There was a significant reduction in Crohn's disease symptoms, particularly general intestinal cramping. This was particularly helpful for cramping that tended to occur as I was relaxing to go to sleep.
Side effects:   Though the Crohn's disease in itself makes me tired, and I feel that the addition of the Mercaptopurine has added to my general fatigue. The fatigue abated somewhat as the dose was lowered (the doctor started at a more aggressive dose). I also seem to catch every bug that is going around. By suppressing my immune system I believe the Mercaptopurine makes it easier for seasonal illnesses to set up shop.
Comments:   I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease about eight years ago. The doctor started with a series of Remicade and a prescription of Prednisone. This combination made it possible for me to eat again - hurray! As for maintenance drugs, I have been on several, including Asacol and Pentasa. There were probably others, but those are the two that I definitely remember. It seemed as though my body would react well to a drug, but then the drug eventually lost that initial effectiveness. I have been on Mercaptopurine for 3-4 years now, and am getting ready to ask to move to a new drug. Mercaptopurine seems to be continuing to do a good job as a drug, but I'd like to find one that may be less deleterious to my liver.

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Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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