"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approved use of Imbruvica (ibrutinib) to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who carry a deletion in chromosome 17 (17p deletion), which is associated with poor responses"...
Purinethol Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Purinethol (mercaptopurine) is used to treat acute lymphatic leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia. It is usually given together with other cancer medications. Purinethol is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body. This medication is available in generic form. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Temporary hair loss may also occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
The usual daily maintenance dose of Purinethol is 1.5 to 2.5 mg/kg/day as a single dose. Purinethol may interact with allopurinol, azathioprine, blood thinners, cyclosporine, olsalazine or sulfasalazine, sulfamethoxasole and trimethoprim, or thioguanine. Tell your doctor all medications you are taking. Purinethol is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm the fetus, particularly during the first 3 months of pregnancy. 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.
Our Purinethol (mercaptopurine) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
What is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Purinethol in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Stop using mercaptopurine and call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms of lymphoma:
- fever, night sweats, weight loss, tiredness;
- feeling full after eating only a small amount;
- pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your shoulder;
- easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate; or
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Stop using mercaptopurine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:
- signs of infection (fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, weakness, muscle pain, flu symptoms);
- severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
- bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
- pain or burning with urination; or
- white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.
Less serious side effects may include:
- vomiting, mild diarrhea;
- hair loss;
- mild itching or skin rash; or
- darkened skin color.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Purinethol (Mercaptopurine)
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Purinethol Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
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.
Read the entire patient information overview for Purinethol (Mercaptopurine)
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Purinethol FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
The most frequent adverse reaction to PURINETHOL is myelosuppression. The induction of complete remission of acute lymphatic leukemia frequently is associated with marrow hypoplasia. Patients without TPMT enzyme activity (homozygous-deficient) are particularly susceptible to hematologic toxicity, and some patients with low or intermediate TPMT enzyme activity are more susceptible to hematologic toxicity than patients with normal TPMT activity (see WARNINGS, Bone Marrow Toxicity), although the latter can also experience severe toxicity. Maintenance of remission generally involves multiple-drug regimens whose component agents cause myelosuppression. Anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia are frequently observed. Dosages and also schedules are adjusted to prevent life-threatening cytopenias.
Hyperuricemia and/or hyperuricosuria may occur in patients receiving PURINETHOL as a consequence of rapid cell lysis accompanying the antineoplastic effect. Renal adverse effects can be minimized by increased hydration, urine alkalinization, and the prophylactic administration of a xanthine oxidase inhibitor such as allopurinol. The dosage of PURINETHOL should be reduced to one third to one quarter of the usual dose if allopurinol is given concurrently.
Intestinal ulceration has been reported. Nausea, vomiting, and anorexia are uncommon during initial administration, but may increase with continued administration. Mild diarrhea and sprue-like symptoms have been noted occasionally, but it is difficult at present to attribute these to the medication. Oral lesions are rarely seen, and when they occur they resemble thrush rather than antifolic ulcerations.
Drug fever has been very rarely reported with PURINETHOL. Before attributing fever to PURINETHOL, every attempt should be made to exclude more common causes of pyrexia, such as sepsis, in patients with acute leukemia.
Oligospermia has been reported.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Purinethol (Mercaptopurine)
Additional Purinethol Information
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