Cancer Home > Mercaptopurine Drug Information

Mercaptopurine (Purinethol®) is a form of chemotherapy specifically approved to treat acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
The prescription medication comes as a tablet that is taken once daily, preferably in the evening and on an empty stomach. Most people who use this medicine will experience some type of side effect, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Although this drug may help in cancer treatment, it is not suitable for everyone. Information on mercaptopurine should be discussed with your healthcare provider before starting treatment to minimize your risk for certain complications. For instance, people who have problems with their kidneys or inflammatory bowel disease may not be able to safely use this medicine.
(Click Mercaptopurine for more information on this chemotherapy drug, including how it works, dosing tips, and what to do if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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