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Mercaptopurine (Non-Cancer)

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Immune Suppressant PurinetholĀ® Children, Adult

Mercaptopurine (Non-Cancer) - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Mercaptopurine (Non-Cancer) cause?

You may experience the following side effects while on Mercaptopurine. Tell your doctor if you encounter any of them so that adjustments to your therapy may be made to reduce the occurrence of these side effects where possible. These include

  • Loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomitting
  • Hair loss
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin, mild skin rash
  • Fatigue, tiredness

Please inform your doctor if you experience any other side effects or if the side effects become severe and bothersome.

There are some rare but potentially serious side effects that may be experienced when you using Mercaptopurine. These include:

  • Bloody or black, tarry stools and/or coffee-ground vomitus
  • Yellowing of skin and/or eye(s), dark-coloured urine, abdominal tenderness  
  • Bone marrow suppression, manifested as sore throats, mouth ulcers, unexplained bruising/bleeding, unusual tiredness, infection or persistent fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe pain or swelling in joints

Stop using Mercaptopurine and inform your doctor immediately if you experience any of the potentially serious side effects.

Before taking Mercaptopurine (Non-Cancer), what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Mercaptopurine (Non-Cancer)?

Do not give your child or yourself any other medications or herbal products without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. Some medication or food may reduce its efficacy, or increase incidence of side effects where close monitoring is required. These include:

  • Other DMARDs such as Azathioprine, Methotrexate
  • Blood thinning medications such as Warfarin
  • Live vaccines, such as BCG, MMR and some forms of polio or influenza vaccines

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