Purinethol (Mercaptopurine) Medication


Purinethol (Mercaptopurine)

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Table of contents:

Drug Description


Purinethol, with the active ingredient mercaptopurine, belongs to a class of medications known as antimetabolites. This drug is used to treat certain types of cancer, particularly acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL) and Crohn’s disease. 

Acute Lymphatic Leukemia (ALL): 

  • Purinethol is often prescribed as part of combination therapy for the maintenance treatment of ALL. 

Crohn’s Disease: 

  • Purinethol is used to manage Crohn’s disease, mainly when other medications are ineffective. 

Uses and Dosage 

The dosage of Purinethol varies based on the specific condition being treated, individual patient factors, and concurrent medications. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. 

The medication is typically taken orally with or without food. Swallow the tablets whole, and do not crush or break them. 

During treatment, regular blood tests are often conducted to monitor blood cell counts and liver function. 

Acute Lymphatic Leukemia (ALL): 

  • Maintenance Therapy: 
    • Adults and Children: Typically, the starting dose is around 1.5 to 2.5 mg/kg of body weight per day, taken orally as a single dose. 
  • Combination Therapy: 
    • The dosage may be part of a combination therapy, and your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate dosage based on your specific situation. 

Crohn’s Disease: 

  • Initial Dose: 
    • The initial dose for Crohn’s disease may be 1.5 to 2.5 mg/kg per day. 
  • Maintenance Dose: 
    • Once the disease is under control, the maintenance dose is often lower, ranging from 0.75 to 1.25 mg/kg daily. 

Dosage Adjustments: 

  • Your healthcare provider may adjust the dosage based on your response to the medication and any side effects you may experience. 
  • Blood tests are frequently conducted to monitor blood cell counts and liver function, and the dosage may be adjusted accordingly. 
  • Purinethol is typically taken orally with or without food, and the tablets should be swallowed whole, not crushed or broken. 

Side Effects 

Here is a concise list of Purinethol (mercaptopurine) side effects: 

Common Side Effects 

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Digestive distress (abdominal discomfort, pain, diarrhea) 
  • Liver enzyme elevation 
  • Bone marrow suppression (anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia) 
  • Increased susceptibility to infections 

Serious Side Effects

Seek medical attention id you experience any of these: 

  • Signs of infection (fever, chills, persistent sore throat) 
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding 
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice) 
  • Severe allergic reactions (rash, itching/swelling, severe dizziness, difficulty breathing) 
  • Pancreatitis (persistent abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting) 


Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: 

  • Purinethol may harm an unborn baby and is not recommended during pregnancy. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 
  • They are not recommended for use while breastfeeding. 


  • Avoid live vaccines while taking Purinethol, as there may be an increased risk of infection. 

Blood Cell Counts: 

  • Regular blood tests are essential to monitor blood cell counts, as Purinethol may affect the bone marrow. 

Additional information

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Quality Prescription Drugs has provided information from third parties intended to increase awareness and does not contain all the information about Purinethol (Mercaptopurine). Talk to your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner for medical attention, advice, or if you have any concerns about Purinethol (Mercaptopurine).