Adults and children who have a certain type of cancer may receive mercaptopurine (Purinethol®). The brand-name and generic versions come as tablets and are available in one strength (50 mg). Mercaptopurine is available by prescription only.
Your individual dosage will depend on a number of factors, such as:
How you respond to and tolerate it
Other medications you are taking.
Mercaptopurine tablets are taken once daily, preferably in the evening and on an empty stomach. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to help stay hydrated. These tablets can also be made into a liquid suspension for people who have problems swallowing tablets.
(Click Mercaptopurine for an in-depth look at various topics on this prescription chemotherapy drug, including specific uses, how it works, potential side effects, and safety precautions to review before beginning treatment.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Mercaptopurine. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2012. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed October 25, 2012.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 25, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed October 25, 2012.
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